How To Thicken Gumbo - Know The Best Substitute for gumbo thickener

Gumbo is one of the most loved dishes in the United States of America and other parts of the world. This dish is a wholesome meal itself made with stock, meat, or seafood, gumbo thickener with the amazing trinity of celery, onions, and bell peppers. And although this dish is easy to make, people always get stuck while making it, as they don't exactly know how to thicken gumbo. To thicken the gumbo, you need to add a thickener that helps in thickening the gumbo. 

A thickener plays a vital role in reducing the steak and also enhances the flavor of the dish. Adding a thickener is thikthe last step of cooking gumbo, where you allow it to simmer and cook properly. So after you have added steak, meat, and vegetables, you can add a thickener of your choice from the below-stated options for making the gumbo thicker.

How To Thicken Gumbo?

Method 1: Prepare And Add The Roux

Using roux is one of the traditional methods used to thicken the gumbo. For preparing roux you need butter and flour. Take the equal parts of butter and flour of your choice, just as you would do to make the white sauce. For every quart of gumbo, you need one tablespoon of butter and one tablespoon of flour. 

First, add butter to a different pan, followed by adding the flour. Stir this mixture and let this roux cook till it changes the color from pale-yellow to a warm toffee color. You can add this roux to the gumbo as the last step while cooking it. Also, do not overcook the roux as it will impart nutty flavor to the gumbo. 

Method 2: File Powder

One of the easiest ways to thicken your gumbo is by using file powder as the gumbo thickener. It is basically a seasoning made from the ground and dried leaves of sassafras trees. This seasoning not only thickens the gumbo but also brings a fantastic flavor to it.

For thickening the gumbo, add one tablespoon of file powder for every one quart of gumbo. Stir the gumbo thoroughly after adding the file powder. 

You can also use okra as a file powder substitute. Just add freshly sliced okras to the gumbo, let us say 1 pound of okras for every five quarts of the gumbo. Keep stirring it and let it cook for an hour to get a thicker consistency for the gumbo.

Method 3: Corn Starch Slurry

The third alternate method is to opt for the quickest and most convenient option of adding corn starch slurry to the gumbo. For this, you need to mix one spoon of the corn starch powder with two spoons of water or any liquid in the bowl that you are using to prepare the gumbo. 

Make sure there are no lumps in this mixture by whisking it properly. Once mixed, add this cornstarch slurry to the gumbo and stir it. After adding cornstarch, generally, the gumbo starts thickening after 10 to 15 minutes. If it doesn't start reducing, you can also add some extra slurry to it. But make sure to check the consistency before adding the slurry second time. Let this cook for an hour and voila your gumbo will be thick, flavorsome, and ready to serve. 

Now that we know the methods for how to make gumbo thicker, let us look at one of the frequently asked questions regarding its thickness. 

How Thick Should Gumbo Be?

Honestly, the answer to this question is subjective as every person has their own preference for the 'perfect consistency.' Generally speaking, a gumbo is thicker than soup, or you can say it as thick as a creamy soup. This thickness can be adjusted by adding roux or any other thickeners. 

Thick or thin, gumbo is a favorite dish of many due to its power-packed combination of veggies and flavors. You can keep the gumbo's consistency as per your requirement because every gumbo is tasty, be it thick or not! 

Concluding Remarks 

Gumbo is a pretty straightforward recipe with a wholesome approach. It is easy, delectable, and also flavorsome. You can use any of the above-stated gumbo thickener methods to achieve that thick consistency. Roux is a much preferred and traditionally used method, whereas some people also like to use file powder or okra. Depending upon the ingredients available in your pantry, choose one of the gumbo thickeners to achieve the desired consistency.


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