Vietnamese Cajun Shrimp Boil

By: takestwoeggsPosted: 21/06/2022 Updated: 01/12/2023
Prep 15 minutes
Cook 40 minutes
Total 55 minutes
Clear your table and get your bibs out for this deliciously addicting Vietnamese cajun shrimp boil. This cajun shrimp boil is made with a large juicy shrimp, corn, baby potatoes, and smoked sausages for a finger-licking-good experience.
Vietnamese Cajun Shrimp Boil

Clear your table and get your bibs out for this deliciously addicting Vietnamese Cajun shrimp boil. This cajun shrimp boil is made with large juicy shrimp, corn, baby potatoes, and smoked sausages for a finger-licking-good experience.

Someone grabbing vietnamnese cajun shrimp from a tray of cajun seafood boil.

When the sun’s out, I love finding excuses to bring people together to share a meal outside. Everyone always comes running at the first whiff of a cajun shrimp boil. I mean, who can resist an entire spread of large juicy shrimp, sweet corn on the cob, baby potatoes, and smoked sausages tossed in a flavorful, spicy, cajun, garlic butter sauce? I’m drooling just thinking about it.

This easy cajun shrimp recipe can be your next excuse to bring people together. This is my own Vietnamese spin on my all-time favorite seafood boil restaurant–Boiling Crab. If you are looking for more summer recipe inspiration, check out my Vietnamese cajun seafood boil, Vietnamese chicken wings, no-bake mango cheesecake, and watermelon mint tea.

Up close of a Vietnamese cajun fusion seafood boil.
Dipping shrimp into a lime and pepper sauce.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Here are 3 reasons why this cajun seafood boil recipe is the best:

  • The large juicy shrimp, corn, baby potatoes, and sausages are packed with Vietnamese cajun seasoning since they are boiled in an aromatic lemongrass Viet-cajun broth and coated in an addicting cajun butter garlic sauce.
  • This cajun shrimp recipe yields enough for 2 people but you can easily double or triple the recipe for larger groups.
  • You can customize this cajun shrimp boil by changing the spice levels or adding or substituting the vegetables, seafood, or protein.
A large tray with a Vietnamese Cajun shrimp boil.

Kitchen Equipment

You will only need a few pieces of kitchen equipment for this cajun seafood boil recipe.

  • Meat Tenderizer: you will need a meat tenderizer to pound the lemongrass to release its flavor into the broth.
  • Large stockpot: you will need a large stockpot that can hold at least 2 gallons or 10 quarts of water.
  • Colander or spider strainer: you will need a colander or spider strainer to remove the ingredients from the boiling stockpot.
  • Large Mixing Bowl: you can either use a large mixing bowl or the large stockpot to toss the cajun shrimp boil ingredients with the Vietnamese cajun butter sauce.

Ingredients

The ingredients for this Vietnamese cajun shrimp boil are listed in three different categories 1) stockpot, 2) the seafood and vegetables, and 3) the garlic butter sauce.

Stockpot Broth

  • Lemongrass: is a shrub-like herb with a distinct lemon aroma and flavor. Make sure to pound the lemongrass with a meat tenderizer to release its flavor. You can find lemongrass at your local Asian grocery store in the produce section.
  • Garlic: use a fresh bulb of garlic that is halved. Leave the skin on the garlic to hold the cloves together.
  • Ginger: must be peeled and sliced vertically into thin strips to add extra aromatics to the broth.
  • Fish sauce: a MUST in Vietnamese cooking. It adds that subtle umami flavor that takes any dish from 0 to 100 instantly. My favorite fish sauce to use is Red Boat Fish Sauce or Three Crabs Fish Sauce you can find fish sauce online or at your local Asian grocery store.
  • Lemon: the citrus in the lemon cuts down the “sea” flavor of the seafood
  • Old Bay seasoning: my favorite seasoning to use for seafood is always hands down Old Bay. You can always substitute Old Bay with Zatarains Crab Boil, or Cajun seasoning.
  • Salt: a pinch of salt enhances all the flavors.
All the ingredients prepared to make a vietnamese cajun broth.

Shrimp and Vegetables

  • Shrimp: I love my shrimp big and thick with the skin still on. They yield the juiciest flavor.
  • Baby Red Potatoes: the best potatoes to use are baby potatoes because they are bite-sized, have the best flavor, and require no prep!
  • Andouille Sausages: have a rich smokey flavor that pairs deliciously with cajun seasoning.
  • Corn on the cob: be sure to cut your corn in half or into thirds

Cajun Sauce

  • Old Bay Seasoning: Old bay seasoning is the base for the seafood boil sauce. you can substitute Old Bay with Zatarain’s crab boil, or any other cajun seasoning you prefer.
  • Paprika: You can use either paprika or smoked paprika for this recipe.
  • Cayenne Pepper: you can adjust the spiciness by adding more or less cayenne.
  • Sugar: a little sweetness balances out all the heavy spicy flavors
  • Pepper: adds another layer of spice to the dish
  • Unsalted butter: use unsalted butter to avoid too much salt in your sauce.
  • Garlic: use freshly minced garlic for the best garlic flavor explosion
  • Lemongrass: adds a lemony aromatic flavor to the seasoning.
  • Louisiana Hot Sauce: Louisiana hot sauce is much milder than Tabasco. It is bursting with a lot of salt and flavor rather than simply heat. I used Crystal Louisana’s hot sauce for this recipe. You can find Louisiana hot sauce online or at your local grocery store.
  • Lemon Juice: the acidity breaks up the bold seasoning and complements the shrimp.

Substitutions and Additions

This cajun shrimp recipe can be easily customizable! I’ve listed some suggested substitutions and additions for inspiration.

Substitutions

  • Limes: For a more Vietnamese-Cajun experience substitute all the lemons and lemon juice for limes.
  • Cajun Seasoning: you can use Zatarain’s cajun seasoning instead of Old bay.
  • Hot Sauce: Instead of Louisiana hot sauce, you can use Tobasco, Sriracha, Zatarain’s Hot Sauce
  • Smoked Kielbasa: you can substitute the andouille sausage with smoked kielbasa sausage as well.

Additions

You can add any of the following seafood for the ultimate cajun seafood boil recipe. However, the cook times will vary for each type of seafood.

  • Crab
  • Clams
  • Muscles
  • Scallops
  • Crawfish

How to Make Cajun Shrimp Boil

This Vietnamese cajun shrimp recipe is very easy to make. Remember to watch your shrimp carefully to prevent overcooking the shrimp!

  1. Prepare the shrimp. Rinse the shrimp in cold water until the water becomes clear.
  1. Make the broth. In a large stockpot, fill the pot halfway with about 1 gallon of water. Make sure that the water only fills about 1/2 of the pot, so it doesn’t overfill when you add the remaining ingredients. Next, add the pounded lemongrass, sliced garlic heads, sliced ginger, fish sauce, old bay, lemon, and salt to the water. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes.
  1. Add the vegetables. Next, add the baby potatoes and increase the heat to medium for 12-15 minutes or until just tender. Then, add the corn and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
  1. Add the shrimp and sausage. Lastly, add the shrimp and sausage. Cook for 1-2 minutes or until the shrimp turns pink. Using a colander, drain the broth and discard the lemongrass, lemons, ginger, and garlic. Set aside.
  1. Make the cajun sauce. In a small mixing bowl, mix together the old bay seasoning, paprika, cayenne pepper, black pepper, and sugar until combined. Next in a large skillet over medium heat, add the butter, minced garlic, and lemon grass. Saute the garlic until it turns light brown and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Then add the mixed seasonings, lemon juice, and Louisiana hot sauce. Stir until combined. Turn off the heat and set it aside.
The cajun butter sauce ready for the shrimp boil.
  1. Mix together. Transfer the shrimp and vegetables to a large mixing bowl and toss with the cajun sauce until evenly coated. Garnish with cilantro and serve a lime, salt, and pepper dipping sauce.

Tips for the Best Vietnamese Cajun Shrimp Boil

  • Cook the shrimp last! You will want to stagger the cooking time for the individual ingredients because each item takes different amounts of time to cook. You do not want to add the shrimp right when you add the potatoes because it will overcook and turn rubbery.
  • You can adjust the spiciness by adding more or less of the cayenne and Louisiana hot sauce. I am generally a spice wimp and err on the less spicy side of things.
  • Dip the shrimp in the cajun sauce before the lime sauce. For the ultimate flavor experience, after you peel the shrimp dip it back in the excess cajun sauce before dipping it in the lime sauce. It’s so good.
Holding a plate of Vietnamese cajun shrimp and vegetables.

Storage Instructions

This cajun shrimp boil is best eaten immediately. However, you can store the cajun shrimp in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. To reheat simply microwave until warm.

Frequently Asked Q’s and A’s

What is a Cajun Shrimp Boil?

A Cajun shrimp boil is a classic American meal made with shrimp, red potatoes, corn on the cob, and andouille sausages. It is then generously seasoned with creole seasoning and dipped in lemon juice.

What is Viet-Cajun seafood boil sauce made of?

This Viet-Cajun seafood boil sauce is made with a lot of garlic and butter that is mixed with lemongrass, lemon juice, Old Bay, paprika, cayenne, Louisiana hot sauce, sugar, and pepper.

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Recipe

Someone grabbing vietnamnese cajun shrimp from a tray of cajun seafood boil.

Vietnamese Cajun Shrimp Boil

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Clear your table and get your bibs out for this deliciously addicting Vietnamese cajun shrimp boil. This cajun shrimp boil is made with a large juicy shrimp, corn, baby potatoes, and smoked sausages for a finger-licking-good experience.
Servings: 2 servings
Print Recipe

Ingredients

Broth

  • 3 stalks lemongrass sliced into 4 inch pieces and pounded
  • 2 heads garlic halved horizontally
  • 3 inch (50 g) piece of ginger peeled and sliced into thick cut pieces
  • ¼ cup fish sauce
  • ¼ cup Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 lemon halved
  • cup salt
  • 1 gallon water

Shrimp and Vegetables

  • 2 lbs shrimp cleaned with skin on
  • 4 andouille sausages sliced into 1-2 inch pieces
  • 4 ears of corn halved
  • 1 ½ lbs baby red potatoes

Cajun Sauce

  • ¼ cup Old Bay seasoning
  • 2 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 ½ tablespoon granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup unsalted butter 2 sticks
  • ½ cup garlic minced (about 2 heads)
  • 2 tablespoon lemongrass finely minced
  • 2 tablespoon Louisiana hot sauce
  • 3 tablespoon lemon juice

Dipping Sauce

  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

Instructions

  • Make the broth. In a large stockpot, fill the pot halfway with about 1 gallon of water. Make sure that the water only fills about 1/2 of the pot, so it doesn’t overfill when you add the remaining ingredients. Next, add the pounded lemongrass, sliced garlic heads, sliced ginger, fish sauce, old bay, lemon, and salt to the water. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Add the vegetables. Next, add the baby potatoes and increase the heat to medium for 12-15 minutes or until just tender. Then, add the corn and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
  • Add the shrimp and sausage. Lastly, add the shrimp and sausage. Cook for 1-2 minutes or until the shrimp turns pink. Using a colander, drain the broth and discard the lemongrass, lemons, ginger, and garlic. Set aside.
  • Make the cajun sauce. In a small mixing bowl, mix together the old bay seasoning, paprika, cayenne pepper, black pepper, and sugar until combined. Next in a large skillet over medium heat, add the butter, minced garlic, and lemon grass. Saute the garlic until it turns light brown and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Then add the mixed seasonings, lemon juice, and Louisiana hot sauce. Stir until combined. Turn off the heat and set it aside.
  • Mix together. Transfer the shrimp and vegetables to a large mixing bowl and toss with the cajun sauce until evenly coated. Garnish with cilantro and serve a lime, salt, and pepper dipping sauce.

Notes

  • Cook the shrimp last! You will want to stagger the cooking time for the individual ingredients because each item takes different amounts of time to cook. You do not want to add the shrimp right when you add the potatoes because it will overcook and turn rubbery.
  • You can adjust the spiciness by adding more or less of the cayenne and Louisiana hot sauce. I am generally a spice wimp and err on the less spicy side of things.
  • Dip the shrimp in the cajun sauce before the lime sauce. For the ultimate flavor experience, after you peel the shrimp dip it back in the excess cajun sauce before dipping it in the lime sauce. It’s so good.

Nutrition:

Calories: 2368kcal | Carbohydrates: 160g | Protein: 138g | Fat: 141g | Saturated Fat: 75g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 13g | Monounsaturated Fat: 42g | Trans Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 1102mg | Sodium: 25108mg | Potassium: 4669mg | Fiber: 16g | Sugar: 38g | Vitamin A: 5316IU | Vitamin C: 136mg | Calcium: 801mg | Iron: 19mg

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