Instant Pot Okra Gumbo is a new twist on a traditional recipe; both vegetarian/vegan and chicken/sausage/seafood versions.
This is not exactly a classic New Orleans gumbo recipe. I did some things differently, like adding an unconventional ingredient. And I used an electric pressure cooker, thinking it would be quicker done in one pot.
Gumbo vs Jambalaya
What is the difference between gumbo and jambalaya? Even though the ingredients of both spicy and smoky dishes are similar, gumbo is a kind of soup or stew served on top of rice. Jambalaya is more similar to a stir-fry dish cooked in the same pan with the rice, like Spanish paella.
Roux for Gumbo
The base of most of Cajun recipes is a roux. It is flour fried in oil or butter and it can be white, blonde or dark. Some people fry flour until it is chocolate-brown, but I opted for milder tasting roux which had color similar to peanut butter. Since frying flour in oil is not healthy, I used my mom’s method of frying dry flour and adding oil in the end. I explained that method in my recipe for Eggless Cookie Dough.
I made the roux in the Instant Pot (IP) directly. It took my about 15 minutes of frequent stirring. During that time the IP went off once by itself – it looked completely dead, the display was off and everything. In a few minutes it turned on again. I suppose it was some kind of safety measure because the content of the pot was really hot and there was no liquid in it. After that it displayed the word “Hot” on the screen.
I think it would probably be the best to make a roux in a pan on a stove top, while at the same time frying onion, celery and bell peppers in the IP. I think it would probably be the best to make a roux in a pan on a stove top, while at the same time frying onion, celery and bell peppers in the IP. It would save time and give you more control over roux without interruptions by too hot IP.
This is more of a base recipe which can be modified to taste. I made it vegetarian/vegan which doesn’t mean that you can’t include some meat or seafood. I started with a roux, then added a “holy trinity” of onion, celery stalk and green bell pepper. Okra, vegetable stock and seasonings were added and cooked until done.
For vegetable gumbo, you can add some more vegetables like mushrooms, zucchini, tomatoes, red beans, carrots, corn, squash etc.
In my area fresh okra is not readily available. I was so happy when a friend of mine brought me a jar of okra he bought from a Turkish store.
Benefits of Okra
- okra is full of minerals like iron, zinc, manganese, magnesium and calcium, as well as other nutrients like protein, fiber and vitamins A and K
- it is a rich source of dietary fiber which makes you fill full and helps you control hunger
- okra’s peel and seed can lower blood sugar levels
- helps prevent stomach gastritis
- helps stabilizing cholesterol levels
- protects liver
- reduces fatigue
Cajun Chicken and Sausage Gumbo
For an authentic Cajun chicken and sausage gumbo, add about a pound of cubed chicken meat and 1/2 pound of Andouille sausage to the recipe.
Add about a pound of peeled and deveined prawn or shrimp tails. I would also suggest one non-conventional ingredient: a tablespoon or two of oyster sauce. I tried it and it made a great difference of adding a layer of seafood flavor.
Gumbo can be either thin as a soup or thick as a gravy. Mine is quite thick. Be free to thin it out with some stock or water, if desired.
What to Serve with Gumbo
The most usual way to serve gumbo is over cooked long grain white rice. You can also serve some French bread, Cajun Potato Salad or green salad on a side.
Conclusion: If you have enough time, cook Okra Gumbo slowly on your stove top. When in a hurry, this recipe will be a good base to start your own version of the traditional dish.
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 onion
- 2 celery ribs, chopped
- 1 green bell pepper, cubed
- 2 cups okra
- 4-5 garlic cloves, sliced
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp dry thyme
- 1-2 tsp Cajun seasoning
- 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- salt and black pepper, to taste
- OPTIONAL ingredient: 1-2 Tbsp Oyster sauce
ROUX: Turn on Instant Pot, Saute setting, High, lid opened. Put flour in it and stir every 30 seconds or so. When it starts changing color, stir non-stop until it becomes dark as peanut butter. Add oil and stir some more.
Add onion, celery and bell pepper. Saute for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add all remaining ingredients* and stir to combine. Cover the Instant Pot with a lid, set seal to “Sealing” and cook for 10 minutes on Manual setting. Release pressure quickly by turning valve to “Venting”.
Serve gumbo over cooked long grain rice.
*At this point you can add other ingredients of your choice: 1 lb of cubed chicken meat and 1/2 pound of Andouille sausage for Cajun Chicken and Sausage Gumbo or 1 lb shrimp for Seafood Gumbo or more vegetables for Vegetable Vegan Gumbo etc.