"Boiling Crab" Style Sous Vide Cajun Shrimp

Wax paper table ‘cloths,’ plastic bag bibs, lots of paper towels, and—dare I say it—eating with your bare hands!

From the first time I dined at Boiling Crab, I was hooked. It isn’t out of the ordinary for a Desi person to eat non-dry food with their hands, but in American culture it can be absurd. I got over the initial discomfort pretty quickly, especially since everyone around me was eating the same way.

I’d often thought about trying to make the shrimp at home. It seemed so simple! Boil the shrimp and then throw it in spices; or put the shrimp, spices and water in a bag and you just boil it? Something. I could figure it out. And with some research, I did.

Now I have to say, I definitely customized this recipe to my own liking and my family’s. However, like all cooking, by all means change the recipe! I actually encourage you to experiment with it. Don’t want sugar/sweetness in your sauce (like me)? Don’t put sugar. Weaksauce in handling spice? Decrease the amount of cayenne and chili powders (and maybe paprika). In hindsight, I would have preferred adding more salt (I added none in the video) and lemon juice and putting less cayenne. I have accounted for these adjustments in the recipe below.

Ingredients

  • Cajun Shrimp Seasoning

  • 2 lemons, juiced

  • 1 head of garlic, minced

  • 1 stick of butter

  • 1/4 cup of canola oil

  • 2 lbs of tiger shrimp

  • Lemon wedges (optional)

Tools/References

Recipe

  1. Fill a big pot with warm/hot water (about 2-3 inches deep) and set up your sous vide to preheat the water to 135°F.

  2. Heat up butter in a skillet. Once melted, add the oil.

  3. Add the garlic! Once the garlic has bloomed, add the spices one at a time, mixing in between until incorporated. Once the spices have married together, turn off the stove and let the mixture cool down a bit.

  4. Place the shrimp in a gallon size freezer ziploc bag followed with the fragrant sauce. Zip the bag closed almost all the way; leave about an inch or two open and squeeze the air out. Keep this 1-2 inches open! Letting the steam escape while the bag is submerged will naturally help create a vacuum at the bottom of the bag (where the food is).

  5. Once your sous vide has pre-heated the water to the correct temperature (it should have by now unless your water was ice cold), gently lower the ziploc bag into the water. If necessary, use a giant spoon to gently press the shrimp so that they sit toward the bottom of the pot and that all of them are submerged. Then clamp the sealed middle or corner of the bag to the edge of the pot.

  6. Set your sous vide to cook for 25-30 minutes.

  7. This step is optional. When your shrimp is nearly done cooking, preheat your lightly greased cast iron pan so that you can serve your shrimp in it once they’re done.

  8. Once the sous vide is done cooking your shrimp, take the shrimp out and open up the bag to inspect the shrimp and ensure you see no gray. Carefully pour the shrimp into the preheated cast iron pan, and serve!

Homemade Sous Vide Boiling Crab Shrimp

Fancy Eid Vanilla Bean Cupcakes

“I can’t believe Ramadan is almost over!” said every Muslim at the end of every Ramadan.

Naturally, as I say goodbye to my favorite month of the year, I begin thinking about my plans to celebrate Eid. Since high school, I’ve been baking some type of dessert every Eid. The past 2 or 3 years, though, I haven’t. Here’s to changing that!

I’ve got an easy recipe for you all—vanilla bean cupcakes without the headache of getting wimpy imitation vanilla extract. SLO Food Group has ethically sourced vanilla beans and they’re quite affordable! Cheaper than the ones at Sprouts, that’s for sure.

Ingredients

Recipe (serves 6-8)

  1. In a large bowl or a stand mixer, beat the softened butter until it’s “whippy.”

  2. Add half of the sugar and whisk until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula, then add the rest of the sugar.

  3. When completely mixed, add the egg and whisk until you see no more lumps.

  4. Next you will add the dry and wet ingredients alternatively, always starting and ending with the dry ingredients. So in this case, add half of the flour and the baking powder.

  5. Mix, mix, mix! Gently, though, don’t beat too much air into it.

  6. Then add a mixture of the milk, yogurt, and vanilla beans. Mix this slowly so you don’t spatter liquid everywhere!

  7. Add the remaining flour and beat until just incorporated. The batter will be somewhat thick but still sludgy.

  8. Line a cupcake pan with cupcake liners. Using an ice cream scoop (1/4 cup), fill up each liner.

  9. Pop into an oven preheated to 325°F and bake for about 20 minutes. Starting at 16 minutes into the baking, you can start checking the done-ness of the cupcakes by gently stabbing (ha!) the center of one of the cupcakes. If it comes out clean or with dry/moist crumbs (not wet batter), then you’re done! Take them out and let them cool a little bit in the pan before transferring to a cooling rack to pipe. If the toothpick comes out with some wet batter, continue baking for 2 minutes and check again. Repeat until the toothpick comes out clean!

Tips

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes with Gold Leaf Foiling
  • Unlike what I did in my video, I recommend mixing the vanilla beans into the liquid (in this case, milk and yogurt) so that they will more evenly disperse throughout the batter. You don’t want chunks of vanilla bean in your cupcake.

  • Don’t take the cupcakes out of the pan immediately after baking, otherwise you’ll smush them. These cupcakes are quite moist, and you don’t want to ruin their shape while they’re still hot/not quite set.

  • For these vanilla bean cupcakes, I recommend a frosting light in both texture and flavor. I used a simple, very basic buttercream for mine!

  • To really make these cupcakes scream EID, place some flakes of gold foil from SLO Food Group on top!

Reconstructed Roohafza: Pink Rose Chia Pudding

Roohafza. The ridiculously sweet rose flavored syrup that’s a staple in desi homes particularly during Ramadan. Shout out to Pakistan helping India out during the dire Roohafza shortage. Roohafza is often mixed with milk, sometimes mixed with water. And sometimes, like in falooda (another desi dessert), it’s paired with tukh malanga otherwise known as basil seeds which swell up in liquid just like chia seeds!

Cooking in Ramadan can be quite challenging. That's why I thought to make a reconstructed Roohafza drink using chia seeds.

This pink overnight chia pudding is perfect for preparing at night for next morning’s suhoor, or preparing in the day for iftar later! It’s quick and easy to make, and the hardest part is the wait.

Roohafza Rose Chia Pudding

Recipe

Pour the milk (or whichever liquid you’re choosing to use) into a container that will hold 2-3 cups of liquid. Stir in the Roohafza. Keep stirring. Stir until your carpal tunnel flares up. Then switch hands and continue stirring. Once the Roohafza syrup has dissolved completely, pour in the chia seeds and stir gently until thoroughly combined.

Tightly seal the lid or plastic wrap it and then pop it in the fridge for at least 4 hours. I left mine overnight and they were perfect in the morning. You don’t have to stir the pudding for evenness; just stir thoroughly before you serve!