Shrimp and Crawfish Pho

Southern Kitchen
Shrimp and Crawfish Pho

Serves: 6

Hands-On Time: 1 hour and 15 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour and 15 minutes


8 cups water

2 cups chicken broth

2 pounds large shrimp (preferably head-on), peeled and deveined with shells reserved

1 yellow onion, diced

2 poblano peppers, seeded and diced

6 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger

2 tablespoons finely chopped lemongrass (see note)

3 tablespoons fish sauce

2 tablespoons soy sauce

Juice of 1 lime, plus 2 limes, cut into wedges, for serving

1 tablespoon whole coriander seeds

1 tablespoon Sriracha sauce

1 (8-ounce) package rice noodles

1 pound frozen crawfish tails, thawed

2 (0.75-ounce) packages fresh basil, leaves only

5 scallions, thinly sliced

2 jalapeño peppers, very thinly sliced


In a large stockpot, bring the water, broth, shrimp shells, onion, poblanos, garlic, ginger, lemongrass, fish sauce, soy sauce, lime juice, coriander seeds and Sriracha to a simmer over medium-high heat. Cook, skimming away any foam that floats to the surface, for 1 hour. Strain the broth through a mesh strainer into a separate pot.

Return the broth to a simmer over medium heat. Add the rice noodles and cook for 3 minutes. Add the peeled shrimp and crawfish and cook until the shrimp have just turned opaque, 3 to 4 minutes. Ladle the broth, noodles and seafood into serving bowls and top with the basil leaves, scallions and jalapeños. Serve hot with the lime wedges.

About the recipe

Pho is a Vietnamese broth-based soup, usually featuring thinly sliced beef or meatballs. Since New Orleans has a large Vietnamese population, we’ve given the traditional pho a bit of a Big Easy makeover by using shrimp and crawfish instead. Normally discarded, shrimp shells pack an amazing briny punch and act as a base flavor for the broth. Once prepared, the broth can be strained and refrigerated for up to three days, and frozen for up to three months. After straining, use the hot broth to poach the seafood before adding the remaining garnishes.

Fresh lemongrass can be found at any Asian specialty market, and even at Whole Foods. When cooking with lemongrass, use the thicker, white part of the stalk, as the top can be overly woody and fibrous. Many supermarkets carry a lemongrass paste in a tube, which would also be a fine substitute. If you can’t find either of those, just use the peels from two lemons.