FilÃ©(file powder), or as it is also known because of its association with gumbo, gumbo filÃ©, is the powdered dried leaves of the sassafras tree. The Choctaw Indians (Mississippi and Alabama) first used this seasoning. It has a flavor resembling that of root beer. It is an essential flavoring and thickening ingredient of gumbo and other CrÃ©ole dishes. FilÃ© is generally added after cooking, when the dish has been removed from the heat, but still hot, because it becomes stringy with cooking.