Egusi is a term in West African given to the seeds of plants like melons, squash, and gourds that, when dried and ground become a staple ingredient in several West African Cuisine.
A common food plant eaten mainly by Africans to balance starchy food such as fufu, eba, akpu, pounded yam etc.
Egusi seed belongs to the Cucurbitaceae family and is botanically known as Citrullus colocynthis (Curcurbita citrullus L. or Citrullus lanatus Thumb),
It is known by various names such as bitter cucumber, melon seed, pumpkin seeds, vine of Sodom plant, wild gourd, bitter apple, and colocynth or desert gourd.
The plant is highly nutritive and medicinal.
Nutritional Values of Melon Seeds
It is a wonderful source of nutritional minerals and vitamins such as carbohydrate, protein, fat, zinc, vitamin B1 (Thiamine), dietary fibre, sulphur, magnesium, vitamins B2 (Riboflavin), niacin and manganese
It contains also, Anti-arthritic, cancer, and bacterial Properties
Egusi Soup is one of the most popular Nigerian soups which you cook with melon seeds and made rich with spices and vegetables.
It is an easy one-pot meal that often goes well with swallows like Pounded yam, Eba, Semovita, Fufu, Amala, and even rice.
Nigerian Egusi Soup (Ofe Egusi by the Igbos / Efo Elegusi by the Yorubas/ Miyan Gushi by the Hausas) is a tasty and very delicious soup prepared with similar ingredients but with slightly different methods.
You can prepare this classic soup with leafy vegetables, such as ugu (fluted pumpkin leaves), bitter leaf, spinach, scent leaf, and the likes.
Methods of cooking Egusi Soup
- How to cook egusi soup boiling method:
No frying is involved; this method is a healthier way to prepare Egusi Soup.
- How to cook moulded egusi soup (akpuruakpu egusi):
The ground egusi is molded into balls and cooked in the soup such that you will be eating the egusi balls like meat while enjoying the meal.
- How to cook egusi soup frying method
It involves frying the ground seed (melon) seeds. This method requires more palm oil than the boiling method.
Egusi soup with tomatoes and bitter leaf is my favorite and one of the most common methods of cooking egusi soup in Nigeria.
Not only is it common but also highly nutritional because of the presence of the bitter leaf.
- 400 ml chopped tomatoes (blended)
- 150 ml Red oil
- Dry fish
- Stock-fish (cooked)
- Cooked Mix of assorted meat (excluding the stock)
- 4 tablespoon crayfish
- Salt to taste
- (3 handfuls) of Bitter Leaf
- 3-4 cups of melon
- Seasoning cubes
- Firstly, boil your meat earlier including stockfish.
- Secondly, clean dry fish with salt and hot water.
- Then, grind melon seeds till smooth, add warm water and make a paste (This helps to prevent lumps).
- After that, blend the tomatoes which should be coarsely and put aside.
- Ground crayfish and keep aside.
Now to cook the Egusi Soup with tomatoes and bitter leaf
- Firstly, heat your oil in a medium pot until hot then, add blended tomatoes and allow frying for about 10-15 minutes.
- Secondly, put the paste and allow cooking, stirring regularly for 15 minutes, and adding a little stock.
- After that, add crayfish, pepper, seasoning cubes, dry fish, stockfish and then, the cooked meat. Mix well.
- Don’t forget to taste and allow boiling for about 15-20 minutes.
- Then, add the bitter leaf and simmer for 5 minutes.
Soup is ready! You can eat it with any swallow of your choice.