- Swai fish recipe is an accessible and pleasant tasting dish.
- It is usually imported from Vietnam and has become more widely available and popular in the US in recent decades.
- However, many people who eat swai may not be aware of the concerns surrounding their production on crowded fish farms.
What is Swai and where does he come from?
- Swai is a white, moist fish with a firm texture and neutral flavor. Therefore, it easily takes on the taste of other ingredients.
- According to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the swai is the sixth most popular fish in the country.
- It is native to the Mekong River of Asia. However, swai available to consumers is most commonly produced in fish farms in Vietnam.
- Indeed, swai production in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta is one of the largest freshwater fish farming industries in the world.
- Previously, swai imported to the US were called Asian catfish. In 2003, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) passed a law that only fish in the Ictaluridae family, which include American catfish but not swai, can be labeled or advertised as catfish.
- Swai is from a separate but related family called Pangasiidae, and the scientific name for this is Pangasius hypophthalmus.
- Other names for swai and similar species are panga, pangasius, sutchi, cream dory, striped catfish, Vietnamese catfish, tra, basa and – although not a shark – iridescent and Siamese shark.
- Intake of fish is generally encouraged as it provides lean protein and heart-healthy omega-3 fat.
- The swai’s protein content is average compared to other common fish, but it offers very little omega-3 fat.
- A 113 gram serving of uncooked swai contains (5, 6, 7, 8):
- For comparison, the same serving of salmon contains 24 grams of protein and 1,200 to 2,400 mg of omega-3 fat, while American catfish contains 15 grams of protein and 100-250 mg of omega-3s. 3 of fat in 113 grams of 4 ounces.
- The sodium in swai can be higher or lower than shown above, based on the amount of sodium tripolyphosphate, a moisture-retaining additive, used during processing.
- Swai is an excellent source of selenium and a good source of niacin and vitamin B12. However, the amounts may vary according to the fish’s diet.
- Swai doesn’t have particularly healthy diets. They are typically fed rice bran, soybeans, canola and fish by-products. Soy and canola products are commonly genetically modified, which is a controversial practice.
Concerns About Raising Swai Fish Recipe
- The effect of swai fish farms on the ecosystem is a major concern.
- The Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program lists swai as a fish to be avoided, as some swai farms generate waste that is illegally dumped into rivers.
- Improper wastewater disposal is of particular concern because swai fish farms use many chemical agents, including disinfectants, antiparasitic drugs and antibiotics.
- Mercury contamination is another consideration. Some studies have found acceptable levels of mercury in swai in Vietnam and other areas of Southeast and South Asia.
- However, other research has shown mercury levels in swai to be above the limit recommended by the World Health Organization in 50% of the samples tested.
- These challenges suggest the need for better water quality in swai fish farms and better fish quality control checks during the import process.
Antibiotics are widely used during production
- When swai and other fish are farmed in crowded fish farms, the risk of infectious disease in the fish increases.
- In one study, 70-80% of swai samples exported to Poland, Germany and Ukraine were contaminated with the bacteria Vibrio, a microbe commonly involved in food poisoning by shellfish in people.
- To fight bacterial infections, Swai are often given antibiotics and other drugs regularly. However, there are downsides. Antibiotic residues can remain in the fish and drugs can enter nearby waterways.
- In a study of imported seafood, swai and other Asian seafood most frequently exceeded drug residue limits. Vietnam had the highest number of drug residue violations among fish exporting countries.
- In fact, 84,000 pounds of frozen fish fillets imported from Vietnam and distributed in the US were withdrawn due to non-compliance with US requirements to test the fish for drug residues and other contaminants.
- Furthermore, even if the fish is properly inspected and the residues of antibiotics and other drugs are below legal limits, their frequent use can promote bacterial resistance to drugs.
- Some of the same antibiotics are used to treat human infections. If they are used to excess and the bacteria become resistant, this can leave people without effective treatments for certain diseases.
You may be eating Swai Fish Recipe without knowing
- You could order swai in restaurants without knowing it.
- In a study by Oceana, an international ocean conservation and advocacy organization, swai was one of the three types of fish most commonly replaced by more expensive fish.
- In fact, the swai was sold as 18 different types of fish – most commonly labeled perch, grouper or halibut.
- This misidentification can occur in restaurants, supermarkets and seafood processing plants. Sometimes this misidentification is deliberate fraud, as swai is cheap. Other times it’s not intentional.
- Seafood often goes a long way from where it was caught to where you buy it, making it harder to trace its origin.
- For example, there is no easy way for restaurant owners to verify that a box of fish they have purchased is what it says.
- Also, if a type of fish is not identified, such as if you are ordering a fish sandwich at a restaurant that does not specify the type of fish, it may be swai.
- In a study of fish products served in 37 restaurants in a southeastern US city, about 67% of the dishes simply listed as “fish” on the menu were swai.
A sensible approach to Swai and better alternatives
- If you like swai, buy eco-certified brands from an independent group such as the Aquaculture Stewardship Council. These marks usually include the certifying agency logo on the packaging.
- The certification indicates efforts to reduce pollutants that can contribute to climate change and harm water quality.
- Also, don’t eat raw or undercooked swai. Cook fish at an internal temperature of 145 (62.8) to destroy potentially harmful bacteria such as Vibrio.
- If you choose to broadcast Swai, there are many good alternatives. For whitefish, consider wild-caught American catfish, Pacific cod (from the US and Canada), haddock, halibut or halibut, among others.
- For fish packed with omega-3, some of your best options that do not contain excess mercury are wild salmon, sardines, herring, anchovies, Pacific oysters and freshwater trout.
- Finally, eat a variety of different types of fish, instead of the same type, all the time. This helps to reduce the risks that can come from overexposure to potentially dangerous contaminants in a type of fish.
3 Easy and Tasty Swai Fish Recipes to Make for Tonight’s Dinner
1. Chili 10 Minute Lemon Chili Fillets
Seriously, these swai fish steaks are ready in 10 minutes. That is incredibly fast! That’s faster than deciding where to order takeout.
Just season the swai and cook them in a pan for a few minutes. These chili lime steaks are great for fish tacos. They also make it a super easy meal when paired with a salad, rice, beans, quinoa, fries, you get the idea. They go with everything.
And they are tasty. Put this swai recipe on for a weeknight when you’re too busy to make something more elaborate for dinner.
2. Swai fish fillets in tomato sauce and basil and capers
Now this one looks a little more stylish! But it is still a very quick recipe. You will start by making a light and flavorful tomato sauce with fresh basil and capers. Then you will gently place the swai fillets in the pan and let them cook in the tomato basil sauce. The result is a flaky, flavorful swai steak.
Pair thisSwai fish recipe with some steamed or roasted broccoli, pasta, mashed potatoes, rice, and don’t forget a slice of bread to dip in the sauce.
3. Swai Baked in a White Wine Lemon Garlic Sauce
This Baked Swai recipe is one of my most popular recipes on the blog. Here’s why: The white wine, lemon garlic sauce are so delicious. It has the perfect balance of lemon flavor, garlic goodness, and savory broth flavor. You can make the sauce ahead of time and then just pour it over the swai fillets and bake for about 15 minutes when it’s time to eat.
And Swai fish recipe is fully scalable. You can double it if you want to serve a crowd, but the cooking time would not increase. This is a great recipe for dinner, or if you want leftovers for lunch the next day.
This Baked Swai fish recipe would go great with rice, risotto, mashed potatoes, linguine, or any other pasta. Make sure to put the extra sauce on top of the pasta and dip some bread into the sauce.
So there you have it. Three different ways to cook swai fillets. Each one is very easy and straightforward, and each with so much flavor. All three recipes are also very healthy, as the seasonings and sauces for these swai recipes are very light.
- Swai fish has a mediocre nutritional profile and is best avoided.
- It is imported from densely packed fish farms, where chemicals and antibiotics are used in excess, causing water pollution and health problems.
- It is sometimes incorrectly labeled and sold as higher value fish. If you eat, choose a brand with an ecological certificate.
- It is generally best to eat a variety of different types of fish. Healthy alternatives to swai include haddock, halibut, salmon and many others.