Recipe calls for frozen okra, can I substitute corn starch or do I even need to?

Basically what the title says, I can't the find frozen okra called for in the recipe I'm following (gumbo) anywhere, and I'm wondering if I need to add a thickening agent or if I even need to bother worrying about it. I don't want to add more file and possibly change the flavor, I figure if I do need to use something corn starch will be the least offensive since okra doesn't have much of an individual flavor anyway.

  • Posted by: Rose249
  • March 17, 2020


Brinda A. March 17, 2020
Hi Rose 249, thanks for writing in and hope all is well with you! Cornstarch might work here, in pretty small quantities, to start—for every cup of okra called for in the recipe, I'd try a slurry of a teaspoon of cornstarch mixed with a teaspoon of cold water before adding it to the soup, then letting it cook and thicken up before adding any more. Hope this helps!
HalfPint March 17, 2020
If you can't find okra (frozen or fresh) in your area, leave it out. If you want to thicken gumbo, you can use file powder, which is ground sassafras leaves. Or you can leave out okra altogether. There's a segment of gumbo makers who like a soupy thin consistency to the gumbo broth. I fall in this camp since thickeners can make gumbo gluey. When you add rice to your gumbo (as I do), the rice also adds a bit of thickening, not much though. It's a matter of preference.
Rose249 March 17, 2020
I am adding rice yes. I don't want to use too much more file and make that flavor too strong, but I don't mind a bit of a thinner consistency. I might add a little more rice than the recipe calls for to make up for it. Thank you!
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