Viet-Cajun Crawfish Boil

Lemongrass and garlic, meet Old Bay and crawfish. Thanks to Houston's migrant populations from Vietnam and Louisiana we have the Viet-Cajun boil, fresh mudbugs tossed with butter, garlic, chilies, Southeast Asian aromatics, and oh, did we mention garlic? So spread out the paper towels, pass around a few crisp beers, and kill an afternoon digging into this Bayou City feast.

Viet-Cajun Crawfish Boil
Photo: Caitlin Bensel; Prop Styling: Mindi Shapiro Levine; Food Styling: Mary Claire Britton
Active Time:
25 mins
Total Time:
75 mins
Yield:
6 serves

Ingredients

Crawfish Boil

  • 2 1/2 gallons water

  • 1 1/2 cups Old Bay Seasoning or Zatarain's Crawfish, Shrimp & Crab Boil

  • 1/2 cup fish sauce

  • 2 lemongrass stalks, smashed

  • 2 lemons, halved

  • 2 heads garlic, halved horizontally

  • 3/4 cup kosher salt, divided

  • 2 pounds small red potatoes

  • 6 pounds live crawfish, cleaned

  • 3 ears fresh corn, halved

Butter Sauce

  • 2 cups (1 lb.) unsalted butter, divided

  • 2 tablespoons very finely chopped lemongrass

  • 1/2 cup chopped garlic (from 16 cloves or 1 large head)

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

  • 2 teaspoons cayenne

  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice

Additional Ingredient

  • 1/2 bunch cilantro sprigs

Directions

  1. Prepare the crawfish boil: Place water, Old Bay, fish sauce, lemongrass, lemons, garlic, and ¼ cup of the salt in a large stockpot. Cover and bring to a boil over high. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 15 minutes. Add potatoes, and cook until just tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Add remaining ½ cup salt. Increase heat to high, and bring to a rolling boil. Add crawfish and corn; boil until crawfish are bright red, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat, and let stand 15 minutes.

  2. Prepare the butter sauce: Heat ¼ cup butter in a stainless steel saucepan over medium-high heat until foamy. Add lemongrass; sauté 4 to 5 minutes or until very soft, stirring very frequently. Add remaining butter, garlic, salt, and cayenne. Cook until butter is melted and garlic is just softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in lemon juice. Cover to keep warm.

  3. Drain crawfish mixture. Discard garlic, lemons, and lemongrass. Place crawfish, corn, and potatoes in a huge bowl. Toss with half of the butter sauce and cilantro; serve with remaining sauce.

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