What is Swai Fish?
Swai fish is from the family Pangasiidae, and is commonly associated with catfish. The Mekong river in Vietnam and Chao Phraya river in Thailand are home to the swai fish. Though the commercially sold ones are grown in Vietnamese fish farms.
Swai fish are called with many other names such as basa fish, panga, pangasius, striped catfish, Vietnamese catfish, and the name it is most famous for – cream dory.
The swai fish is imported to almost anywhere around the world. Out of all the other fishes in the market, swai fish ranked in sixth place as most popular fish in the United States; this is according to data from US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Swai Fish in Cooking
Just like any other fish, the swai fish or cream dory contains protein and omega-3 fatty acids.
Also, the cream dory is described to have a firm texture and neutral flavor, giving it a top position as a favorite fish ingredient.
Swai fish can be cooked in many ways; from simple recipes to gourmet.
Cream Dory with Black Beans and Tofu
This recipe has an Asian kick. The ingredients needed are: frozen cream dory fillet, blocks of tofu, a small bottle of black beans, ginger, tomato, onion, garlic, an egg, flour, soy sauce, vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste.
To cook, do the following steps:
- Take the frozen cream dory fillet out of the freezer, thaw until ready to cook.
- Cut the tofu blocks into small cubes and also cut the cream dory fillet into bite size pieces.
- Prepare the other ingredients like onion, garlic, tomato, and ginger. Chop them into normal-sized pieces.
- Heat up the pan and put enough amount of oil and wait until ready for frying.
- Fry the small cubes of tofu until they are golden brown.
- Beat the egg until completely yellow, then prepare a few amount of flour into a clean bowl.
- Slowly dip the cream dory fillet into the egg, then onto the flour afterwards.
- Fry the cream dory fillets until they are golden brown, set aside with the fried tofu cubes to drain the oil.
- In the same pan, while only using a few oil, stir the following in order: onion, garlic, ginger, and tomato. Stir until all of them are completely cooked.
- Put the fried tofu and cream dory fillet in the pan together with the stir-fried vegetables.
- Add the vinegar and soy sauce for flavor, also add pinches of salt and pepper to taste.
- Lastly, add the small bottle of black beans and wait until softened.
- Prepare with a cup of rice and enjoy!
The mentioned dish is just one of the many recipes for cream dory. It is also used for most gourmet dishes.
Gourmet Baked Cream Dory with White Wine Lemon Garlic Sauce
The ingredients for this dish are: cream dory fillets, parsley leaves, garlic, dry white wine, butter, lemon juice, salt and pepper. This is just a simple recipe.
To start the recipe, do the following steps:
- Preheat the oven to 375℉.
- Apply grease to a large baking pan.
- Use a small saucepan and combine the following ingredients: white wine, butter, lemon juice, salt, and minced garlic. Do this while the saucepan is on the stove, continue stirring until the butter melts.
- Place the cream dory fillets in the greased saucepan.
- Season the fillets with salt and pepper.
- Pour the sauce over the cream dory fillets, and top with some fresh parsley.
- Bake for 10-15 minutes at 375℉. Remove from oven when fully cooked.
- Garnish with a few more fresh parsleys.
Nutritional Value of Swai Fish
Though similar to other fishes that contain protein and omega-3 fatty acids, the swai fish is not rich in either of them. It instead has just the average amount of protein and omega-3 fats.
A cup of cream dory (339 grams) contains the following nutrients:
- Carbohydrates – 0 grams
- Calories – 210
- Cholesterol – 135 grams
- Fats – 4.5 grams
- Niacin – 42% of the Reference Daily Intake
- Omega-3 fatty acids – 33 mg
- Proteins – 45 grams
- Selenium – 78% of the Reference Daily Intake
- Sodium – 1.05 grams
- Vitamin B12 – 57% of the Reference Daily Intake
As seen from the given data, the basa fish contains just enough amount of proteins and omega-3 fats. But this fish is rich in other nutrients such as niacin, selenium, and vitamin B12.
The health benefits of swai fish comes from its protein and omega-3 fats. The protein from the fish promotes maintaining a healthy weight; which also helps keep hunger at bay, making the person feel full and not get hungry easily. Another is the omega-3 fatty acids. These fats from the fish are healthy for the heart. It helps with the ease of blood flow in the body and it helps prevent formation of blood clots that may avoid any instances of experiencing conditions like stroke and heart attack.
The Issue with Swai Fish
Swai fish, though nutritious and delicious (also very cheap!), has had major issues from the recent years.
In the early 2000s, the fish was referred to as “catfish” in the U.S. market. Unfortunately, in 2003 they began to give the fish different names because they mistakenly thought of it as a catfish.
The swai fish is a breed that is grown in Vietnamese fish farms. The issue of them being raised in fish farms is that the fishes are fed and given different chemicals like antibiotics, anti-parasitic drugs, and disinfectants as they are bred. Through different investigations, they have proven that the fish indeed contains some sort of bacteria like E. coli that make them dangerous and unhealthy.
After this was proven, multiple stocks of swai fish was withdrawn from the U.S. market. They also considered total ban over the fish product.
Here are a few reasons to avoid eating swai fish (for your safety!):
- They contain microbes
According to a 2016 study; where they tested a few number of the fishes, about 80 percent of them were proven to contain Vibriobacteria. Vibriobacteria are the microbes responsible for most cases of shellfish poisoning.
- They are drugged and are grown with chemicals
The Vietnamese fish farms are known to use chemicals in raising fishes. They use chemicals like anti-parasitic drugs or pesticides, antibiotics, and disinfectants. Also, the drugs they use on the fishes are those that are banned in the U.S.