I would like to try and make gumbo ( I brought up Emeril's on the web) It sounds so good, but I would never be able to find file powder where I live. I googled it and it says it is sassafras. Can you use something else or omit it altogether
I would leave it out....but I'd never heard of it until now! LOL
I did find this...but you probably did too...
"gumbo file powder is the powdered leaves of the sassafras tree"
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magnabay I don't know where you live but I live in So Calif and they have it in all of the grocery stores in the isle with all the spices and seasonings and we are as far west as it gets from Louisanan or wherever they make Gumbo.
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I am in Canada at a little beach resort and I know they won't carry this.
Sliced pods of okra will thicken your gumbo. The okra should be young and tender (knife will slide through easily). Add half a dozen pods and if that doesn't thicken it enough, add a few more pods at a time until it is as thick as you want it.
It is a thickener, so cornstarch would be a good alternative as well - just mix it in with water and gently pour it in while stirring. It won't have the "sassafras" flavoring, which if you aren't used to will help if you aren't familiar with it.
I would leave it out. I personally don't care for the flavor so when I make chicken sausage gumbo, I just omit it. Based on where you are, you probably cannot get any okra either.
You can get "Gumbo File" at www.penzeys.com. A 1/4 cup jar costs $3.45.
AnnTOH Field Editor
I couldn't find it in my area also when I first made gumbo. I used the okra and it came out pretty good.
Amazon has plenty of file powder-all sizes and prices.
Enjoy your gumbo
Try using Arrowroot as a thickener.
File powder is added to the individual serving bowls of gumbo just as it's being served, not as a thickener for the whole pot. We've made and eaten more pots of gumbo than I can count and never bothered with the file powder. It truly is not necessary.
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