A classic seafood boil transformed into Viet-Cajun goodness! A vibrant and bold combination of Cajun spices with the aromatic, exciting flavors of Vietnamese cuisine. Gather around a communal table and dig into this incredibly delicious, garlicky, and intensely spiced seafood extravaganza. Lobster, shrimp, clams, corn, and potato with a well seasoned, Viet-Cajun broth and spicy garlic butter. YUM!
What is a Viet Cajun Seafood Boil?
Inspired by the Vietnamese Diaspora who settled on the Gulf Coast (namely Louisianna and Texas), a Viet Cajun Seafood boil is an exciting, uniquely delicious expression of food.
Sweet, fresh seafood is heavily seasoned with spicy Cajun Creole and Vietnamese flavors. A simple yet extravagant seafood feast with Old Bay and Cajun Creole spices mixed with plenty of garlic, ginger, lemongrass, and fish sauce. The result is an exciting, addictively delicious seafood boil!
As a bonus, a Seafood Boil doesn’t require much cooking at all. Simply assemble layers in a pot and boil away!
The flavorful broth can be sipped alongside the meal or used as a dip. There’s also a rich and spicy garlic butter sauce that’s served on the side. SO incredibly delicious! Enjoy!
A note: Viet-Cajun Boils typically include fresh crawfish. We don’t have access to fresh crawfish here in Toronto so I adjusted by swapping with lobster. Enjoy!
- Lobster. One lobster per person for a decadent, luxurious meal. Can be swapped with fresh crawfish.
- Shrimp. Look for shrimp with heads and tails. They make for an extra flavorful broth.
- Andouille Sausage. A smoked sausage that’s full of flavor. If you like spicy, look for spicy andouille sausage.
- Clams. Sweet, littleneck clams release their juices and are such a tasty treat!
- Corn. Summersweet fresh corn is a classic addition. Cut ears into halves or thirds for smaller, easy to eat portions.
- Red Potato. Little red potatoes add a starchy element and soak up all that flavorful broth! They also keep their shape better than yellow potatoes.
- Garlic + Ginger + Lemongrass. The flavorful aromatics.
- Fish Sauce. Adds so much umami-rich flavor and adds an overall seafood richness.
- Cajun spices. Look in the spice aisle for ready-made Cajun spice mix. If it doesn’t contain salt, you’ll need to add salt to the broth.
- Cayenne. For the spicy garlic butter that you’ll be dipping with everything!
- Old Bay. A classic flavoring for seafood dishes.
- Make spicy garlic butter sauce. In a small saucepan, add butter, garlic, lemongrass, cayenne, salt, and pepper. Simmer for 5 minutes. Cover and set aside.
- Make broth. Fill a large stockpot with 6 cups of water. Add garlic, lemongrass, ginger, fish sauce, Old Bay, and Cajun seasoning. Bring to a boil and simmer until flavors combine, about 5 minutes.
- Add smoked sausages and potatoes. In an even layer, add smoked sauges and red potatoes. Cover and boil for 8-10 minutes. (Sausages and potatoes take longer to cook than shrimp, clams, and corn.)
- Add shrimp, clams, and corn. In an even layer, add shrimp, clams, and corn directly on top. Cover and Boil until clams open and shrimp turn pink, another 4-5 minutes.
- Transfer to sheet pan. Use a mesh strainer and transfer the sausage, potato, shrimp, clams, and corn to a sheet pan. Leave behind the broth and aromatics (garlic, lemongrass, ginger).
- Add lobsters. Add lobsters to the remaining broth. Cover and boil until bright red and cooked through. Transfer lobsters to tray, placing on top of the sausage, potato, clams, and shrimp.
- Serve. Remove aromatics from the broth. Transfer into small bowls for each person to sip and dip with their meal. Transfer spicy garlic butter sauce into individual bowls for each person as well. Eat immediately and enjoy!
- Set a timer. Pay attention to the cooking time so everything is not overcooked and mushy. I recommend setting a timer for each layer.
- Spread out newspaper for a tablecloth. For easy clean up. The seafood boil is very messy to eat. The newspaper will soak up the juices and make for a relaxed, casual vibe.
- Essential sides: Miso Butter Garlic Bread, cold beer, and plenty of napkins!
More Recipes to enjoy:
- Lemongrass Chicken Soup
- Instant Pot Viet Chicken Soup
- Crispy Fried Fish Sandwiches
- Budae Jjigae (Korean Army Stew)
Viet-Cajun Seafood Boil
- Small saucepan
- Large Stockpot
- Mesh Strainer
- rimmed sheet pan *for serving
Spicy Garlic Butter Sauce
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- 1 head garlic (about 12 cloves) (minced)
- 1 stalk lemongrass (bruised and minced)
- 2 tsp cayenne
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 10 grinds freshly cracked pepper
- 6 cups water
- 4 stalks lemongrass (bruised and minced)
- 2 heads garlic (halved)
- 3-inch piece ginger (sliced)
- 2 Tbsp fish sauce
- 2 Tbsp Old Bay seasoning
- 2 Tbsp Cajun/Creole seasoning
For the Seafood Boil:
- 2 lbs red potatoes
- 4 smoked sausages (cut in chunks)
- 3 lbs clams
- 2 lbs shrimp (with heads and tails intact)
- 4 ears corn (cut into thirds)
- 4 1lb -1.5lb lobsters (make sure they are all the same weight for an even cook time)
Make Spicy Garlic Butter Sauce:
- In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add garlic, lemongrass, cayenne, and salt. Simmer until softened and flavors combine, about 5 minutes.
- Add water, lemongrass, garlic, ginger, fish sauce, Cajun seasoning, and Old Bay into large stockpot. Bring to a boil and simmer until flavors combine, about 5 minutes. The broth should be flavorful and spicy, almost too salty.
- Add potatoes and sausages. Cover and boil for 8-10 minutes, until potatoes are almost done. (The potatoes and sausages take longer to cook than clams, shrimp, and corn.)
- Add clams, shrimp, and corn. Cover and boil until clams open and shrimp are pink and curled, about 4-5 minutes.
- Using a mesh strainer, transfer potatoes, sausages, clams, shrimp, and corn to a tray. Leave behind broth and aromatics (garlic, ginger, lemongrass). Cover tray loosely with foil and set aside.
- Bring broth to a boil. When the broth is furiously simmering, add lobsters. Cover and boil until cooked through, about 10-12 minutes. The lobsters should be bright red. Transfer to tray with tongs.
- Serve with Spicy Garlic Butter Sauce divided evenly into 4 ramekins. Also, serve the broth in small bowls for additional dipping. Enjoy!