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Information about Gumbo plus Traditional Gumbo Recipes

Speciality Dish - USA Creole/Cajun



Go to:- Cajun/Creole Featured Ingredient | Cajun/Creole Main Page| Cooking by Country Main Page




Gumbo is basically a spicy, thick soup or stew and is commonly associated with Louisiana, a state in the south of the USA and in particular Cajun cooking but it is now cooked and served by Louisianan Creoles and Cajuns alike. It’s often served as communal stew which is traditionally served around Mardi Gras - the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. Although native to the area, its popularity has grown to such an extent that it is now eaten throughout the USA.

The word ‘gumbo’ comes from the West African word nkruma meaning okra. Okra is a  green vegetable which was taken to the USA by African slaves in the late 17th Century and is a traditional (though nowadays not always used) ingredient of Gumbo. When okra is cut and cooked, it releases a sticky substance which helps thicken the dish. Sometimes filé powder, made from ground sassafras leaves and introduced by the Choctaw Indians, is used as the thickening agent for this dish.

The dish was devised at a time when many Cajuns were poor and therefore had to eat whatever they had to hand. Consequently, there’s no such thing as a definitive recipe for Gumbo. If it crawls, flies, swims or stays still long enough to catch it, it can be used in Gumbo.

Traditionalists would say the making of the dish  always starts with the making of a roux (a flour and oil or butter mixture)  to act as the thickening agent, however non-conformists don't always follow this method and good results can still be achieved using other methods. Besides, it is doubtful that the first Gumbos were made this way as wheat flour was scarce and very expensive.

Below are a couple of gumbo recipes to start you off but do as the Cajuns did…..use what you have to hand and experiment!


Happy Cooking!



Easy Chicken Gumbo    HT  MC  Creole  Cajun  95mins


Seafood Gumbo    HT  MC  Creole Cajun  95mins

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