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Old 04-14-2007, 02:09 PM   #1
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What is Gumbo filé powder?

hey gang!!

a few days ago, someone here posted a recipie for jambalaya, and now i cant seem to find it.

i printed the recipie and went to the store today to get the goodies, but im lost on 2 things.

no one at the store had ever heard of gumbo file pwdr. what is it and whats in it? can i skip this or make it out of other ingrediends??

it also calls for *converted* rice. what is that? i just bought a bag of medium grain enriched rice...can i use that?

TIA!!!!

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Old 04-14-2007, 02:13 PM   #2
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Gumbo file' powder is ground dry sassafras leaves. It flavors and thickens. You could skip it.

Converted rice is what Uncle Ben's is. You can use regular long grain rice but i'm a little leary of the medium grain. It will give off a lot of starch. It's what;s used for risotto. The starch from this rice may replace the thickening power of the file'.
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Old 04-14-2007, 02:16 PM   #3
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You can make jambalaya without the file powder (I always do cuz I don't like the taste), but it is more authentic to include it.
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Old 04-14-2007, 03:01 PM   #4
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mugsy, in most markets the file powder is with the dried spices. I like to top my bowl of gumbo off with some file - but a little bit goes a long way!
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Old 04-14-2007, 03:21 PM   #5
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I love file. I use sto-bought and home ground. I even make a file gumbo! Yeah buddy! In jambalaya I can take or leave it. Sometimes I reach for it, sometimes not. Sometimes I just reach for the bourbon instead
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Old 04-14-2007, 04:28 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mugsy27
hey gang!!

a few days ago, someone here posted a recipie for jambalaya, and now i cant seem to find it.

i printed the recipie and went to the store today to get the goodies, but im lost on 2 things.

no one at the store had ever heard of gumbo file pwdr. what is it and whats in it? can i skip this or make it out of other ingrediends??

it also calls for *converted* rice. what is that? i just bought a bag of medium grain enriched rice...can i use that?

TIA!!!!
Sierracook posted the recipe:

Jambalaya ( 1 2 3)
SierraCook
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Old 04-14-2007, 05:46 PM   #7
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as always...u are all amazing!! ty! jambalaya is underway (minus the file, and after a quick run back to the store..and nice long grain rice)!!
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Old 04-14-2007, 07:17 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Bob
I love file. I use sto-bought and home ground. I even make a file gumbo! Yeah buddy! In jambalaya I can take or leave it. Sometimes I reach for it, sometimes not. Sometimes I just reach for the bourbon instead
I love the file...to me, it's not gumbo without it. But, as y'all say, a tiny pinch in your bowl is all it takes.

Uncle Bob, I have sassafras trees on my property. How do you make your home ground?
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Old 04-14-2007, 07:51 PM   #9
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Most grocery stores have ethnic foods departments these days and for some reason consider filé powder an ethnic food. Spices in the ethnic foods departments are many times packed in plastic pouches and are cheaper than the brand names such as McCormick or Tone's.

As for the rice, I too like converted rice, but long grain also works very nicely. As was already mentioned, medium grain rice is a bit too starchy.
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Old 04-14-2007, 09:03 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Constance
I love the file...to me, it's not gumbo without it. But, as y'all say, a tiny pinch in your bowl is all it takes.

Uncle Bob, I have sassafras trees on my property. How do you make your home ground?
Miss Connie..

I have "harvested" leaves in the fall of the year and dried them over winter. Removed the stems and ground them in a coffee/spice mill. Obviously I cannot achieve the same fineness as commercial products. It works well for flavor but does not have the same thickening characteristics.
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Old 04-15-2007, 09:07 AM   #11
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Jambalaya Ingredient Question

Hi. I'm new here and just saw your thread. In Louisiana we never use file' in jambalaya. And there are really 2 types of jambalaya. One is a tomato based dish and the other uses beef broth as the base. In my family my husband and I love the tomato dish while my daughter prefers the brown or broth version.
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Old 04-15-2007, 10:23 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jldrod
Hi. I'm new here and just saw your thread. In Louisiana we never use file' in jambalaya. And there are really 2 types of jambalaya. One is a tomato based dish and the other uses beef broth as the base. In my family my husband and I love the tomato dish while my daughter prefers the brown or broth version.
That's what I learned when I lived down there, jldrod. Most of my ex's family lived in the Gonzales area (their last name was Gonzales...think they were from there?), and in Gonzales, they don't use tomatoes in their jambalaya, or gumbo either, for that matter.
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Old 04-15-2007, 01:31 PM   #13
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I don't use file powder in my jambalaya. Your converted rice is long grain, like Uncle Ben's.

I just made jambalaya last night! How did yours come out?
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Old 04-16-2007, 10:51 PM   #14
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I, too, have never run across any authentic Creole or Cajun recipe for jambalaya that uses filé powder (filé powder = filé = gumbo file = gumbo filé = ground sassafras leaves = sassafras leaves = file powder = file = fil powder = fil) especially during the cooking process. It is added in only on serving ... otherwise it can get stringy and funky (if you think you hate boiled okra ....).
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Old 04-17-2007, 02:13 AM   #15
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From the article that I just read it can also be used as a thickener in creole dishes.

Food Facts & Trivia: Gumbo File Powder
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Old 04-17-2007, 07:15 AM   #16
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Uncle Bob--your file may be better if you use very young leaves instead of old ones. Pick them now, before they are fully emerged, dry and grind them.
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Old 04-17-2007, 07:45 AM   #17
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Miss Sparrowgrass....

I had this very discussion with Miss Connie the other day. I (we) agree the harvesting of green leaves would be far superior to dry ones in the fall. I do this just for fun anyway. I much prefer Zaterains File Powder to anything I could produce. I cannot come close to it's fine powdery texture and excellent taste.
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Old 04-17-2007, 03:08 PM   #18
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I have never tried making it (or eating it, for that matter). I just remembered seeing instructions for it somewhere.

Of course, all of the sassafras leaves got frozen off this year, and we are just waiting to see whether things come out of it or not.
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Old 04-17-2007, 03:17 PM   #19
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Knock me over the head with a beignet for recommending file powder in jamabalaya!

Of course it's for gumbo.

Not sure I know the word for "duh" in Cajun.
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Old 04-17-2007, 06:24 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sparrowgrass
I have never tried making it (or eating it, for that matter). I just remembered seeing instructions for it somewhere.

Of course, all of the sassafras leaves got frozen off this year, and we are just waiting to see whether things come out of it or not.
Sassafras trees routinely drop leaves in the fall/winter at my house. They have new leaves coming on strong this spring. Your trees should not be far behind.
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