Friday 6 May 2011

Aunt Helen Rose's Gumbo

Aunt Helen Rose’s Gumbo with Avocado and Grapefruit Salad
from Vegetarian Dinner in Minutes, Linda Gassenheimer, Chronicle Books, 1997.

Vegetarian Dinner in Minutes is organised into sections according to different cuisines: Mediterranean, Modern American, Tex-Mex, the Far East and Cajun and Caribbean. It’s an American book and so it’s largely from an American perspective. From a look through the items included I’m not totally convinced about the authenticity of the dishes. However, it is a vegetarian cookery book and so I’m willing to give it a try.

This particular recipe is apparently a quicker version of Aunt Helen Roses’s gumbo. It certainly is an easy dish to prepare.

The secret of gaining the proper flavour of a gumbo is, so the recipe tells us, to make sure that the oil and flour are cooked until a good brown roux develops.

To make the gumbo, it’s all largely a matter of do this bit, then add some more ingredients. After a bit of cooking add some more. Then cook a bit longer and add some more. Until the thing is all done.

The instructions call for the use of Worcestershire sauce. I did not include this as it has fish among its ingredients. I substituted light soya sauce.

I was also unable to obtain filé powder so used a Cajun spice mix (Lousiana style).

The gumbo was flavoursome and enjoyable. The spice flavours were different from those I am used to so it was good to try a different range.

As the instructions for the gumbo stated its flavours improve with age, I was able to test it out the next day—sufficient to agree with the statement.

The salad was easy to make and truly appetising. The avocado went particularly well with the grapefruit and the whole was blended together extremely well by the yoghurt, mustard and honey dressing. A pleasing salad.

As some of these books may be out of print if anyone would like a particular recipe, email me ( and I’ll send an abbreviated version. Of course, the whole book would be better; it’s loaded with other goodies.

Taste: ✔✔✔
Ease of cooking: ✔✔✔✔

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