A Filling FISH Fillet Treat!
Food appears to play a significant role in one’s major life events. People gorge on food during
the holidays, birthday parties, or any life event. But defining a life event, especially for a Filipino
varies. Food usually finds its way to a wedding reception, a baby’s baptism, a despedida
(farewell party) and even a relative’s lamay (wake). When I was a Jesuit volunteer in far flung
Malipayon, Bukidnon, I remember attending a wedding reception where the chicken used in
the tinolang manok dish was literally picked (sinungkit) from the tree’s branches and the
tapang kalabaw (water buffalo beef jerky) was air-dried near the straw hut’s ceiling!
For most Filipino Catholics, the season of Lent means an abstinence from meat during Fridays
and days of fasting on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. In Pampanga ( a province in Central
Luzon, Philippines) where my family and I used to spend Good Friday (the day Jesus Christ is
believed to have been crucified), food consisted of inihaw na dalag (broiled mudfish), mongo
(mung bean) soup, steamed eggplant and ampalaya (bitter gourd) leaves, sukang nipa (vinegar
from the nipa plant) and bagoong (anchovy) or taguilo (fermented shrimps with rice)! Despite
the meatless diet, my relatives still found ways of making the kids’ Good Friday meal fit for a
celebration of life!
The Lenten sacrifice was not lost on us and each year, we still try our best to abstain from meat
on all Fridays of Lent even if we have moved to Ontario where fish is usually frozen and
expensive! The recipe that we’re featuring in today’s blog is Basa fish fillet, which can easily be
bought from most supermarkets. The taste of the fish is very similar to the fish and chips snack
so enjoy! Come to think of it, you can add spuds to this dish if you like! 😀
CAJUN STYLE FISH FILLET WITH LEMON BUTTER SAUCE
1 pack of Basa fish fillet
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups of bread crumbs or yellow corn meal
1 tbsp, mild chili powder
2 tbsp. parmesan cheese
2 cups vegetable oil
Optional: Sazon Goya con cilantro y aciote
1. Towel- dry the thawed fish fillet and slice into finger – size pieces.
2. Marinade the fish with fresh lemon juice, salt and pepper for about 14 hours to a day.
Add 1 tbsp. of Goya powder if available.
3. In a mixing bowl, combine and mix the bread crumbs or corn meal (highly
recommended), mild chili powder, Parmesan cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste,
4. Beat the egg in a separate in a bowl.
5. Spread the bread crumb mixture on a cookie sheet.
6. Dip the marinated fish fillet with the eggs and coat it with the bread crumb mixture.
7. Deep fry the fish for about 10-15 minutes over medium-high heat. Once the fish turns
golden brown, remove the fish from the pan and remove any excess oil.
8. Serve with lemon butter sauce and steamed rice or warm bread. Enjoy!
*Lemon butter sauce consists of 3 parts melted butter, 1 part fresh lemon juice, salt and
pepper to taste. My daughter, Lia, suggested that Kraft’s Three Cheese Ranch Dressing
might be a good substitute.
*Using cornmeal gives the fillet an extra crunch that my kids love.