Pan seared Basa with Thai lemon garlic sauce


I am partial towards prawns when it comes to seafood. But ever since i tasted Basa, thats become one of my favourites too. I actually salivate at the thought of it. Its so universal that you can prepare it anyway you want.


Its such an easy fish to cook, it picks up the flavour of all the ingredients. Light flavours go really well and this broth spooned over a lovely pan sear makes it so delicious.



3 Basa fillets
pinch of salt and pepper
2 Tbsp. oil for frying

1/3 cup olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
2+1/2 Tbsp. fish sauce
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup fresh coriander leaves and stems, chopped
2 spring (green) onions, sliced
1 tbsp basil leaves.
2 birds eye sliced red chil (remove the seeds to adjust spice levels)
1/2 tsp. sugar
2-3 Tbsp. coconut milk (pkt variety is fine)


1) Place all lemon-herb sauce ingredients together in a sauce pan. Stir together and set aside.
2) Rinse fish and pat dry. Then, using a paper tissue, pat the fish on both sides, absorbing any remaining moisture. (This is the secret to getting a good sear.)
3) Heat a frying pan over medium-high heat. When pan is hot, add the oil and swirl around. Reduce heat to medium. Place fish in pan and season with salt and pepper.
4) Do not move the fish once you have placed it in the pan or the flesh will tear. Allow the fish to fry undisturbed for at least 2 minutes before turning. If pan is smoking, reduce heat to medium-low.
5) Turn the fish, but again, don’t move it around – allow it to fry undisturbed for another 2 minutes. Lightly season the second side with salt and pepper.¬†Fish is cooked when the inner flesh is opaque when gently pulled apart with a fork. One inch thickness will take roughly 5 minutes.
6) Place lemon-herb sauce over medium heat for 2 minutes, or until warm. (Don’t boil the sauce or it will lose its fresh flavor and nutrients.)
7) Before serving, taste-test the sauce. Note that this sauce tends toward the sour side; however, feel free to sweeten it with a little more sugar if it’s too sour for you. If it’s too spicy, add a little more coconut milk. If not salty enough, add more fish sauce. If too salty, add another squeeze of lemon or lime juice.
8) To serve, place the fish fillets or steaks on individual plates. Spoon the sauce over and serve any extra on the side.
Recipe courtesy – Darlene Schmidt