Suggested Uses: Seasons and thickens gumbos Ingredients: Sassafras leaf, Thyme leaf. File powder (pronounced [FEE-lay) is one of the key ingredients in making gumbo and has a distinctive "root beer" flavor since it’s made from dried ground leaves of the sassafras tree, and first used by the Choctaw Indians from the Louisiana bayou. Today the powder is used to both thicken and flavor gumbo, a thick Creole stew or soup that is served over rice. In New Orleans, what is known as ‘Creole Gumbo,’ varies from house to house while still retaining its African and Native American origins. The Creoles of Cane River make a gumbo focused much more on file. Filé can provide thickening when okra is not in season, for those types of gumbo that use okra or a roux as a thickener for their gumbo instead of Filé. Sprinkled lightly over gumbo as a seasoning and a thickening agent, Filé powder adds a distinctive, earthy flavor and texture; it is generally not added until after the vegetables and meats and/or seafood are done cooking and removed from the heat source.