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Aug 30, 2006 09:37 PM

Gumbo - Okra: Yea or nay

I mistakenly posted this query in the San Francisco regional board. I'm a newbie.

Your response and your reason would be appreciated.

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  1. I always put it in. The books mostly tell you to use EITHER okra OR filé powder (sassafras), but several recipes I've seen say they've always used both. You mustn't cook it after the filé goes in, though - do that at the end.

    FWIW, I am far from an okra freak - I like it pickled or in soup, and that's about it. I always use frozen - cut up usually, though going to the trouble of cutting up frozen whole okra gives a better result. Often I get bags of frozen mixed okra and tomatoes and save a few steps there, too.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Will Owen

      Really? Cutting up frozen whole okra eh? I'll try it!

    2. Funny you should ask...
      I find it almost essential as a thickening agent, though I don't like the whole, slimy "wheels" into which it's typically cut. I like it diced small, as the greenish flavor offsets the other heavy flavors of the sausage & roux.

      2 Replies
      1. re: foodiegrl

        I'm rather fond of the slimy wheels. I like popping the seeds between my teeth. Some days it's the only exercise I get.

        1. re: beckiefd

          Definately YEA! I'm partial to Okra and can't stand Filé powder.


      2. Depends on what your idea of gumbo is....if it's light tan in color and thick than yes go for okra...but if you invision a broth as dark as a hershey bar and thin as a soup than NO. okra gumbo and "new orleans seafood" gumbo are 2 total different creatures...

        2 Replies
        1. re: TulsaNoah

          Thank you TulsaNoah for your response. Now my next question is: What is the difference between okra gumbo and "NOLA seafood" gumbo? Hmmmmmmmmmmm?

          1. re: beckiefd

            okra gumbo is a side dish...a veggie per say (an equivalent to east texas okra and tomatoes)....and NOLA seafood gumbo is a "course". I think okra gumbo is great along side pork tenderloin, but never as a dish by itself. like dishing up mashed potatos and serving them without a main...sort of akward.
            ::blank stare at a plate::

        2. I prefer fresh okra when I can get it but have used frozen in a pinch. I have file powder on the shelf but rarely use it.

          I like okra pickles, fried okra and okra on gumbo but as a side with tomatoes it is not a favorite.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Candy

            Yes'm. . okra pickles!!
            I've found frozen, breaded okra at the safeway. 'spretty good.

          2. The word gumbo is an African word that actually means okra.
            I usually use okra in my gumbo, but not always. I don't think it tastes as good in a seafood gumbo.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Spencer

              So the general consensus is for no okra in seafood gumbo. I prefer the andouille myself.