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Aug 25, 2006 10:50 PM

Gumbo Help

Making Gumbo and don't have file powder.
Can anyone think of a worthy substitute?

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  1. I don't think there really is a good substitute- it's made from sassafras. If you can't find any, you can always order online, but should be able to find in a store.

    1. some people may jump all over me for this but i have had and made plenty of gumbo without file and this is in southern louisiana

      1 Reply
      1. re: frankiii

        Thank you, I was gonna say that! Last time I had gumbo in New Orleans (with file) I didn't like it. Leave it out. You'll be able to taste more . . . gumbo?


      2. I like okra in my gumbo. So I just leave out the file. Anyone use both okra and file at the same time? I was informed to use either or.

        4 Replies
        1. re: rumgum

          Okra, no file is how I make it, but that's just because I don't like file. I didn't know about the "rule" rumgum.


          1. re: TexasToast

            I guess both okra and file can be used to thicken gumbo. So, theoritically you wouldn't need both at the same time. I'm not from the south, nor was anyone else who ate my gumbo. All raved but no one would have known otherwise about the file. I grew up eating okra in other dishes, so that's what I used. Didn't bother trying to find file.

          2. re: rumgum

            Ive always heard that you use either okra or file' but never both. I don't like okra so I use file'.

            1. re: rumgum

              Antoine's recipe for Creole Gumbo calls for okra and file. They describe their version as the "classic creole seafood gumbo" but say that there are many forms.

            2. I have file on my shelf but when I can get good fresh okra I use it instead. The flie powder should be added just before serving for thickening. It loses power if you add it too early.

              Yeah, yeah, yeah! Some people would argue there is no such thing as "good fresh okra." They are misinformed.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Candy

                Oh no, I'm sure there is Candy . . . in Kenya!


                1. re: TexasToast

                  Oh, I can get it in Bloomington, IN with no problem. Some people just have a preconceive attitude about the pod.

              2. I've made plenty of Gumbo and never use file. I don't like it. I either thicken with okra or with a roux. I get raves all the time.