Information about Gumbo plus Traditional Gumbo
Dish - USA Creole/Cajun
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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
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!
Easy Chicken Gumbo HT MC Creole
Seafood Gumbo HT MC Creole Cajun