How to cook Cajun-style Crawfish like a Pro
When spring is around the corner, for Texans it means that it is time to take out the large boiling pots! Why? You ask. Because it is crawfish season! Back in the day, whenever temperatures would start to fall, Texans would cook their traditional Cajun seafood boil to keep their families full and happy with a bowl of a piping hot crawfish boil.
To get the title of the true crawfish expert, there are a few dos and don’ts when it comes to cooking these mudbugs to Cajun perfection. Louisiana natives and Cajun experts have a specific style that they follow when it comes to this traditional and very close-to-heart cuisine.
To familiarize you with this style and make the process of cooking easy for you, our cooking experts at Red Crab have put together this guide for you, in collaboration with some of the best chefs who are known for their Cajun seafood boil. So why wait? Let’s make you a Cajun-style crawfish expert! This guide covers everything that comes to mind when it comes to crawfish, as well as a wonderful Cajun crawfish boil recipe. Keep reading!
What is Cajun Seafood?
Cajun food is a style of cooking seafood, that originated from the Acadian people. This was a group of people who were deported by the British from a colony in France. These people migrated and then settled in Canada. In the 18th century when war broke out, these individuals had to migrate again and this time they ended up in Southern Louisiana near New Orleans.
Because of the drastic changes in the weather condition and the availability of different kinds of food. These people had to alter and change tehri recipes accordingly. So, Cajun-style seafood changed and adopted different styles with the changes in time. During this time these people lost many of their culinary traditions and had to develop new styles of cooking with different ingredients. The choice of meat, vegetables, and spices changed according to their location. And with these changes the Cajun cooking, you see today, was born.
Therefore, you can say that Cajun-style cooking finds its influence from a lot of different places as its roots are widespread. However, the primary influences are from African, French, and Spanish cooking techniques. One of the well-known techniques in Cajun cooking is ‘the trinity’. This technique has its roots in the French cooking technique called the ‘mirepoix’.
In Cajun cooking, this entails that every dish is based on the three most essential ingredients. These are bell peppers, celery, and onion. Without these three ingredients, no dish can be truly Cajun. These three are often accompanied by parsley, garlic, and scallions.
Some popular Cajun-style dishes that you might have comes across are Boudin, Gumbo, and Jambalaya. There is also blackened salmon, crawfish, catfish, alligator, and dirty rice. But the question is are we going to learn to cook all of them? No, we are just going to focus on one of the most popular Cajun seafood dishes that is everyone’s favorite, especially during winter. We are going to master Cajun seafood boil with crawfish today. But before we dive into the recipe for this amazing dish let’s first learn a little about the basics.
What is a Crawfish?
Crawfish is a freshwater crustacean or in simple words a shellfish. Many people also know it as crayfish. These look like tiny lobsters with red, hard shells and claws. These are both wild-caught and farm-raised. These are consumed as very popular seafood all around the world but are especially loved by foodies in California, Louisiana, Texas, and Southern USA.
How do you Boil Crawfish?
It is very easy to boil a crawfish. All you need to do this is a big boiling pot. Make sure it is big enough to hold all the crawfish and cover them with water. Fill this pot with enough water and place it on the stove to boil. Once the water comes to a boil, place your crawfish in it.
After placing them in water cover the pot with a lid and let it boil. In hot boiling water, it takes 3 to 4 minutes for live crawfish to cook. You will know that the crawfish are done when their color turns red. If you are using frozen crawfish, then first thaw them at room temperature. Then boil them for just a minute since they are pre-cooked.
Recipe – Cajun-style Crawfish Boil
Now let’s learn how to cook Cajun seafood boil with crawfish just like how a seafood restaurant would! Keep in mind that this recipe is for a big feast. You can break down the amount of the ingredients as per your requirements.
28 Liters of cold water
50 pounds of crawfish (cleaned)
3 ounces of crab boil
1 cup of cooking oil
12 medium-sized onions (cut into four)
6 heads of garlic (cut into half)
24 medium sized red potatoes (cut into half)
12 ears of corn (cut into half)
6 lemons (cut into four)
4 pounds salt
6 tbsp celery salt
½ pound of cayenne pepper
When you buy live crawfish from your supplier it might already be clean, but a thorough wash with clean water will cause no harm. Next, in a big boiling pot, bring the water to a boil. Add crab boil stock, cooking oil, onions, garlic, lemon, salt, and pepper to the pot. Continue to boil the mixture for the next 30 minutes.
Now you can add the cut red potatoes to the pot and cook for approximately 10 to 12 minutes. Once the potatoes are done, add corn and cook for another 10 minutes. Once all the veggies are thoroughly cooked, add the crawfish to the pot. When the water starts to boil again, record your time, and cook for the next 7 to 10 minutes. After the time has passed, lower the flame, and let the mixture simmer on low heat for 12 minutes. This will give the spices some time to mature, and your crawfish boil will be ready!
Serve hot and enjoy your Cajun seafood crawfish boil!