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Sunday, Nov 28, 2021
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Scaly Tales: It Was Said To Swim

An ‘unfishy’ Basa is taking over in the country’s menus. Why do our chefs love this staid blob?

Scaly Tales: It Was Said To Swim
Scaly Tales: It Was Said To Swim
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

“He burnt his fingers, and to cool them he applied them in his booby fashion to his mouth. Some of the crumbs of the scorched skin had come away with his fingers, and for the first time in his life (in the world’s life indeed, for before him no man had known it) he tasted crackling!”

Charles Lamb
in ‘A Dissertation upon Roast Pig’

***

If Charles Lamb was around today, it’s unlikely that he would have been exercised enough to embark on even a short piece on the crackling of fried basa fish. As for the aroma, well, there’s hardly any to speak of. So what is it that makes the imported basa or the Asian catfish the preferred seafood even in gourmet kitchens and five-star restaurants? And this when our own snapper, king fish, seer fish etc make it almost a no-contest in the taste stakes. So enamoured are chefs of these processed fillets of it that outside many high-end restaurants even in faraway Delhi there are grandiose signboards announcing that they have basa on the menu!

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