Gumbo originated from Louisiana (southern region of United States). It usually consists of okra (lady’s finger), meat or shellfish and the stock is thickened. They are traditionally served over a bed of rice. To be honest, my gumbo tasting experience only began a couple of years ago but the last few I had inspired me so much. The broth was so tasty and addictive, filled with seafoody-goodness (BNF vocabulary :-P) and packed with tons of seafood. It is really a meal on its own! I was so tempted to rush home and make some gumbo! The last straw came when I was watching one of the episodes from the latest season of Masterchef US. One of the contestants made a pot of gumbo in less than an hour for the judges (according to them, was quite impossible) and all 3 were blown away by it. So hubby immediately said: “I want some gumbo this weekend!”. That was how I began my gumbo-making journey. Although this is not the traditional recipe (I did not include okra and also added some extra ingredients), the flavor compensates for everything else. This is also one of my father-in-law’s favorite.
Your favorite seafood – I’m using flower crabs, clams, prawns, scallops, crayfish
1 can minced clams (reserve the juice)
1 tbsp (14 g ) butter
2 tbsp plain flour
3 cloves garlic – chopped
1/2 yellow onion – diced
1 red or yellow pepper – diced
1/3 cup tomato paste
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
Salt and pepper
Coriander or Chinese parsley (optional)
Prawn stock ingredients:
1 stalk celery with leaves- diced
1 medium carrot – diced
prawn heads and shell from 12 medium-sized prawns (rinse the prawns before peeling)
1/2 yellow onion – chopped
1 bay leave
pinch of dried thyme
4 cups water
Serves 2 – 3
Recipe source: Food Republic
Let’s make the stock first. In a medium pot, drizzle some oil and add in the prawn shells and fry them for 30 seconds. Add in the bay leave, pinch of thyme and the rest of the ingredients and cover with water. Bring to boil and let it simmer for 30 mins (low heat). Drain the stock with a strainer and set it aside.
In a cast iron oven or large pot, melt the butter and add in flour.
Cook the butter and flour at low heat, stirring constantly for 20 to 25 mins, until you get this color.
This is a brown roux used mainly in Cajun and Creole cuisine, to thicken gumbos or stews. I find this method adds richness and depth to the dish.
Turn up the heat to medium and add the chopped vegetables to the roux and cook until soft, approx. 2 mins.
Add in prawn stock, clam juice, white wine vinegar and tomato paste and bring to boil. Simmer for another 30 mins, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.
Taste and season with salt and pepper accordingly. Lastly, add in all the seafood, cover and cook for 10 mins. Add in the coriander and turn off heat.