How to Cook Swai Fillets
Have you noticed that swai--a white-fleshed fish usually farmed out of Vietnam--has been selling for ridiculously low prices lately?
I recently picked up some at Wholesome Choice for $1.29 per pound--a price that, I should note, is cheaper than chicken.
So how do you cook swai? However the hell you like.
It is, as I've discovered, the most forgiving and versatile fish I've ever worked with. It absorbs flavors beautifully. It makes superb fish and chips. But most important of all: it's almost impossible to overcook.
Believe me, I've tried.
I dredged the first few fillets in flour and left them sauteing in butter for longer than most cookbooks would advise. But no matter how hard I tried to turn them into jerky, what slid off the frying pan was always moist, always flaky, and meltingly soft as fresh fallen snow.
After mastering the saute, I decided to turn the swai into Cha Ca Thang Long, which is what I think swai is meant for.
The dish is very easy. Although I won't share my recipe since I basically culled it from far better recipe sites, I can tell you it involves marinating the fish in turmeric, fish sauce, and galangal paste, then pan frying in lots of oil with bunches of dill, onions and scallions.
We ate it hot over a chilled bowl of Vietnamese rice noodle called bun and discovered that not only was it the perfect summer meal, it also honors the origins of fish.
After all, it came all that way from Southeast Asia, and judging by the prices, it must have flown coach.
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