Egusi soup also known as Efere-Ikon in Calabar, Miyan Egusi in Hausa; Efo-Elegusi in Yoruba; and Ofe-Egusi in Igbo is a spicy delicious soup known by almost all if not all tribes in Nigeria. It can either be prepared with bitter leaf, Afang, Water leaf, Fluted Pumpkin and uzuza(Odusa) to achieve different flavour. Afang,uzizaand Bitter leavesarebetter choice for me because theymakes it tastier and bring out the very taste that i need.
Methods of cooking Egusi Soup
There are basically two ways of preparing Egusi soup which are:
- The frying method
- The caking method
The two methods would be described later.
Nutritional value of Egusi (Melon seed ) and its health benefits
- Melon seeds areaverage antioxidant which helpto protect cells and other structures in the body from oxygen free-radicals.
- The low oil and protein content in Egusi can make an excellent dietary supplement for any one.
- the seedscan be roasted and grounded into a spread-like peanut butter
- It can be blended with water and honey to produce milky liquid that can be used as a formular to substitute for breast milk for babies in order to prevent Malnutrition.
- Egusi is rich in proteins,fat and vitamins: Vitamin A, B1, B2 and C; It contains Alpha-tocopherol, a component of Vitamin E that helps in maintaining smooth young skin.
- It contains palmitic, stearic, linoleic and oleic acids which help to protect the heart from different harm.
Just before you embark on the cooking, wash the bitter leaf in an open bowl several times; this is done by washing and squeezing the leaves while changing the water at intervals such that the trace of bitterness is gone.
You can either soak in water with an addition of potash before washing it completely or boil it on fire and add a little potash to it for about 10 minutes before washing itto get rid of the bitter taste faster or rather buy the already washed one from the market.
Ingredients for preparing Egusi Soup
- 1 kilogram beef, chicken or goat meat
- 3 cupsof Egusi (Melon Seed)
- smoked fishor iced fish
- 1 medium sized Cod/stockfish
- 1 cup of grounded crayfish
- 4 cooking spoon of palm oil
- A bunch of Pumpkin(Ugu), bitter leaves, water leavesAfang or Uziza/odusa leaves
- 1 medium size stock fish
- 3 medium size smoke fish
- 1 ball of onion
- 3 seasoning cubes (Maggi, knorr, Royco or Suppy)
- Traditional seasoning ingredients (Ogiri, Okpei Locust beans)
- 4 Scotch bonnet peppers
- Salt to taste
Directions for cooking Egusi Soup
- 1. season and cook the meat for 15 minutes; while cooking the meat, wash the stock fish with warm water and salt and drop it into the pot containing the meat and allow to boil for another 15 minutes. Note: you can boil the stock fish separately if you choose to.
- 2. Dress the smoked fish and keep aside
- 3.While the meat is on fire, place the white Egusi seed in a dry mill and grind until it is smooth, then put it into a plate and add a little water to it (do not make it watery) and allow it to soak till the actual time you are going to make use of it. Or beat two eggs and use the whiteto mould it into balls that is if you are going to use the caking method.
- 4. Check if the meat is well cooked; pour it into a different pot.
- Depending on which method you want to follow
Preparing Egusi Soup by Frying method
- In order to remove the raw and unwanted smell and also to make it chunky, you have to fry it.
- Place a dry pot on fire, pour the four spoons of palm oil into the pot;when the oil is heated, drop the egusi paste which you have mixed with water into the oil and fry,allow it to fry completely like the way you would havefriedeggor Tomatoesstew.When this is done, pour the meat stock into the content on fire and allow it to bubble for few minutes.
- Add crayfish and other ingredients
- Ffinally, add the bitterleaves, pumpkin, waterleaves, Afang or Oziza leaves and leavethe contentto simmer, then stir and serve.
Using the caking method for Making Egusi
- Re-heat the meat stock , allow it to boil if the water in the meat is not enoughadd 1 cup of water and allow it to boil then drop the mouldedEgusi into the content on fire and allow it to simmer for about 7 minutes without stirring it.
- Add the grindedcrayfish, pepper, seasoning cubes and traditional seasoning ingredients.
- Add the dressed smoked fish and allow to simmer for 10 more minutes,as it boils the egusi will form chunks
- Add your vegetablesto the content and stir properly and allow it to boil for 5minutes.
- Your Egusi soup is ready to be served with fufu, eba, tuwo shinkafa (mashed riceormashed rice-arborio/Paella rice) semovita or pounded yam.
Have you been able to prepare your own Egusi soup using any of the above method? How was it like? Share your experience with us.