Star-Bulletin Features

Wednesday, March 24, 1999

By Craig T. Kojima, Star-Bulletin
A pot of gumbo is full of fish, sausage, shrimp,
tomatoes and hearty spices. It should be served
with just a tablespoon of rice.

Gumbo a great
partner for jazz

Betty Shimabukuro


Gumbo, real gumbo, is not a cooking project for the faint-of-heart. The list of ingredients is as long as your arm and the instructions will take you 10 minutes to absorb.

Make roux. Make stock. Chop this. Cut that.

Make up a huge pot for your seafood-loving friends, though, and you have friends for life.

Howard Deese, marine program specialist with the state's Ocean Resources Branch -- sometimes called the Fish Guy, but lately, the Gumbo Guy -- takes this Louisiana dish seriously, making a study of its roots.

His recipe will be featured at this weekend's Great Hawaiian Jazz Blow-Out, on a menu of Creole and Cajun specialties to be cooked up by Kathy Maddox of Coffee Manoa.

The Blow-Out is basically two days of music, dancing and food, food, food -- barbecued shrimp, chicken, vegetables and salads.

Deese maintains that you can't buy an authentic bowl of gumbo locally, so he's been perfecting his recipe, incorporating whatever local seafood's in season.

Among the gumbo facts he's collected: The soup gets its name from the Indian word kombo, for file (pronounced "fee-lay"), the distinctive powder sprinkled on at the end of gumbo preparation; and the African word gombo, for okra, a key ingredient which came to Louisiana from Africa.


Howard's Cajun
Seafood Gumbo

Bullet Vegetable base:
1/2 cup oil
3-1/2 pounds canned tomatoes
2 cups chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery, with leaves
1 cup chopped bell peppers
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
2 tablespoons vinegar
4 quarts seafood stock (see note)
Bullet Seasonings:
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon each cayenne, white and black pepper
5 bay leaves
2 teaspoons each dried thyme, basil and oregano
Bullet Roux:
1-1/2 cups canola oil
1-1/2 cups whole wheat flour
Bullet Additions:
6 cups sliced okra
1 pound crab claw meat
3 pounds small to medium shrimp
1 pint oysters
1 cup chopped green onions
File powder to taste

Heat oil in a large, heavy pot and add vegetables, vinegar and seasonings. Cook over low to medium heat 30 minutes, stirring and scraping often. Add stock and continue to simmer 1 hour.

To make roux: Heat oil in a frying pan. Slowly add flour, stirring with a wire whisk until mixture is smooth. Cook over medium-high heat for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium, continuing to stir, for 20 minutes or until mixture is a golden brown.

Add the okra to the roux and continue stirring and scraping until some of the sliminess is gone, about 15 minutes. Slowly add stock and vegetables to the roux. Simmer another hour.

Add crab and shrimp and simmer 10-15 minutes. Add oysters and simmer about 5 minutes. Add green onions.

Serve in bowls with small amount of rice and sprinkle with file powder (file should not be cooked). Serves 24.

Note: If making your own stock, you'll need about 4 pounds of shells, bones and meat. Use any combination of shrimp heads and shells, crab bodies, carcasses of white fish, ham hocks, chicken backs or necks, etc. Simmer at least an hour.

Approximate nutritional analysis per cup: 330 calories, 21 g total fat, 2 g saturated fat, 105 mg cholesterol, 680 mg sodium. (purchased stock would increase sodium in most cases).*

Great Hawaiian Jazz Blow-Out

Bullet Dates: 7:30-11 p.m. Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday
Bullet Place: Bakken Hall, Mid-Pacific Institute
Bullet Tickets: $15 a day or $25 for the weekend, children under 12 free. Food extra.
Bullet Call: 734-0397

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