How To Prepare Nigerian Egusi Soup (Caking Method)
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How To Prepare Nigerian Egusi Soup (Caking Method)
Egusi soup is made from Egusi melon seeds which are found in the tropical parts of Nigeria and are also a subspecies of watermelon seeds. Contrary to popular opinion, Egusi is not necessarily an original Yoruba soup, despite the distinctive style of cooking, since it is eaten by West Africans, from the Igbo tribe in Nigeria, all the way to Ghana, where it is called ‘Agushie’.
Egusi soup is very popular across West Africa. It is prepared from ground egusi melon seed and typically cooked with meat or fish and leafy vegetables. The recipe I am sharing here is for easy and tasty Nigerian egusi soup, also known as “efo elegusi”, in Yoruba language. It is a version of egusi soup cooked with leafy vegetables.
Efo elegusi is traditionally eaten with foods “swallow” like eba, fufu, iyan (pounded yam) etc. It is also a great accompaniment to rice, yam and plantain.
Health Benefits Of Nigerian Egusi Soup
Diabetes occurs when your body is unable to respond to insulin (the hormone that lowers blood sugar) and/or when it is unable to produce sufficient insulin.
In Iranian diabetic patients, egusi fruit capsules lowered HbA1C and fasting blood glucose levels after two months. Egusi seed oil also reduced blood sugar levels in mice with diabetes.
Lowers lipid levels
High blood levels of lipids (fat, cholesterol, and triglycerides) in your blood can increase your risk of heart disease. Ground egusi seeds lowers triglyceride and cholesterol levels in patients with high blood lipid levels.
Prevents bacterial infections
Extracts from egusi plants, fruits, and seeds prevent bacterial infections. Egusi fruits contain active chemicals that kill common bacteria like Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Salmonella typhimurium.
Egusi fruit extracts are as effective as the antibiotic drug, novobiocin in treating patients with staphylococcal (bacterial) infections.
Source of antioxidants
Antioxidants are an essential component of your diet because they neutralize harmful free-radicals that cause diseases like cancer, rheumatoid arthritis and heart disease. They are typically present in fruits, and egusi is no exception.
Egusi fruit extracts are a rich source of antioxidants and studies have proven their ability to neutralise several free-radicals.
Stimulates hair growth
Egusi extracts are used in Ayurvedic medicine for hair growth. These extracts are effective in increasing the number of hair follicles in animal studies.
Minoxidil is the standard treatment for hair loss in men and can be effective in women. In animal studies, egusi extracts were more effective than minoxidil in treating hair loss.
Egusi seed is a rich source of protein and omega-6 fatty acids. Similar to most plant oils, it mainly contains unsaturated fatty acids. Its seed oil is a good source of natural antioxidants like vitamin E and ß-carotene.
Egusi seed is a good source of potassium and calcium, minerals that regulate blood pressure. It is also a rich source of magnesium, phosphorus, iron and zinc.
And just like all plant foods, egusi is naturally cholesterol-free.
Nutritional Value Of Nigerian Egusi Soup
- 100g of West African egusi contains the following nutrients:
- 593 calories
- Carbohydrates: 11.3g
- Fat: 47.9g
- Protein: 27.5g
- Fibre: 3.2g
- Calcium: 16% of the reference nutrient intake (RNI)
- Iron: 42% of the RNI
- Zinc: 75% of the RNI
- Phosphorus: 157% of the RNI
- Potassium: 18.5% of the RNI
Ingredients To Prepare Nigerian Egusi Soup
- 4½ cups (600g) Egusi (Melon) seeds
- 2 cooking spoons red palm oil
- Beef: Best cut and Shaki (cow tripe)
- Fish: Dry Fish and Stock Fish
- 3 tablespoons ground crayfish
- Pepper and Salt (to taste)
- Vegetable: Nigerian pumpkin leaves, spinach or bitter leaves
- 3 small stock cubes
- 1 Ogiri Okpei (traditional locust bean seasoning: optional)
Things To Do Before You Prepare Nigerian Egusi Soup (Caking Method)
- Before preparing the soup, soak the dry fish for about half an hour.
- If you are using the very tough stockfish, boil it for 20 minutes and leave in the pot with the hot water to soak for about an hour.
- If using the softer stockfish, you can just soak them in cool water till you can break them apart with your hands.
- When the fish and stockfish are soft, debone and break them into sizeable chunks.
- Much closer to your cooking time, grind the egusi with a dry mill.
- Grind the crayfish and the dry pepper separately and set aside.
- Wash the vegetable to be used.
- Cut into tiny pieces.
Cooking Directions To Prepare Nigerian Egusi Soup (Caking Method)
This method produces a healthier egusi soup as there is no frying involved. It requires less oil too.
- Boil the shaki, stock fish and dry fish in 1 litre of water with the stock cubes till they are well done. First sign of a done shaki is that the cuts will start curling on itself.
- Wash the beef to be used for the soup, add it to the pot and cook on medium heat till done.
- As soon as the shaki, fish and meat are done, add crayfish and pepper, stir and remove all the meat from the stock (water used in cooking the meat and fish) and place in a different pot or plate.
- Add the ground egusi to the stock and stir. If the stock from cooking your meat and fish is not enough to give you a medium consistency, add some water to get the consistency of evaporated milk or a bit thicker. It will not be as smooth as evaporated milk though.
- Cover and cook till the egusi cakes. Stir and add a little bit more water. watch it closely so that it does not burn.
- Repeat step 3, adding only a small quantity of water at a time. After about 25 minutes, you will notice the clear egusi oil coming to the surface of the soup.
- Add the red palm oil and bitter leaves (if it is your choice of vegetable), pepper and salt to taste and cook for about 7 minutes. You know it is good to continue when the palm oil and egusi forms a good blend of light yellow colour.
- Add the cooked meat and fish. If using pumpkin leaves or any other soft vegetable, add it at this time and stir the soup.
- Add salt to your taste, stir and leave to simmer for 2 minutes maximum.
- Turn off the heat. Leave to stand for about 5 minutes before serving.
What To Serve With Nigerian Egusi Soup
The egusi soup is ready and can be served with the following;
- Garri (Eba)
- Semolina Fufu
- Amala, Cassava Fuf
- Pounded Yam.
This Egusi soup recipe is insanely delicious and easy to make. Thanks for reading this article about Nigerian Egusi Soup. Did you make this recipe? Please rate it and leave me a remark in the comment box below!