EGUSI SOUP ~ Healthy Style 🍽 By Victoria Francis.
Halo Fam. I’m back.
My new article has another wonderful African-Nigerian popular dish, named Egusi Soup.
I want to believe that all Nigerian foodies rank this Nigerian delicacy high in their favorites, but why assume? Leave me your thoughts in the comments section: Would you agree with me that we are ‘head-over-heels’, oh so in love with Egusi soup? 🤤🤤 Just the thought of it makes me crave it.
If you are not familiar with egusi soup, how about some background info?
Egusi is described by Wikipedia as the name for the protein-rich seeds of certain cucurbitaceous plants (squash, melon, gourd), which after being dried and ground are used as a major
ingredient in West African cuisine.
Egusi seeds are said to exceptionally rich in phosphorus, zinc and iron. It is also rich in vitamins A, B1,
B2, C, and alpha-tocopherol, in addition to palmitic, stearic, linoleic, and
oleic acids. Other minerals found in egusi seeds include potassium,
magnesium, calcium, sodium, manganese and copper. An article published by Dr Somi Igbene reveals that on top of being a great source of antioxidants, egusi seeds helps regulate blood and cholesterol levels and egusi extracts even help with hair loss! Shouldn’t that make egusi a superfood?
This is Healthy Living~Naija Style🍽️. So… today, I will offer the traditional way and a healthy version of egusi soup so you can indulge in the goodness without giving up on taste!
Disclaimer: Egusi soup is one of the most popular soups in Nigeria so the dish is prepared by most Nigerian tribes in some variation or the other. This is my humble version, with simple Recipe Ingredients and Procedures (easy to grasp and make.)
Let’s get started!
- Chopped onions 3- 5 and fresh chilies, to taste)
- 4 cups egusi (melon seeds, ground or milled)
- 1⁄2 – 1 cup palm oil (traditional way) OR 1 – 2tsp of palm oil. You can also use 1 or 2 tbsp of vegetable oil (the healthy way)
- Salt (to taste)
- Ground crayfish (to taste)
- 7– 8 cups stock
- Cooked Meat & fish (quantity and variety to personal preference)
- 2 cups cut pumpkin leaves
Egusi soup happens in three main steps.
1: Boil the meats and/or fish you intend to use.
2. Grind the egusi. I advise that you always buy whole egusi seeds and grind them yourself. That way you are sure of the quality of the seeds. Pre-ground egusi is not always the best.
3. Sauté onions in red palm oil, cook egusi in red palm oil then add the boiled meats, crayfish and seasoning. Allow to simmer for some time, while stirring with a wooden spatula so it doesn’t burn.
When it’s cooked, finally add your chopped vegetable, stir in properly and allow for 5-10 seconds. (Traditional method)
you can have a lighter healthier version of this by steaming the egusi (add a little water to it) without oil until it forms the crumbs. Then add your stock chopped onions, allow to cook a bit. Now, add your booked meats, crayfish and seasoning. This should be done on medium heat, then you can add 1 or 2 tsp of palm oil at the end of the soup just for the smell of the oil. You can use vegetable oil in place of the palm oil, by adding 1 or 2 tbsp.
When all is said and done allow to simmer for about 10 – 15 seconds.
There you go, it is really that easy!
For the Healthy Version, you can have your Egusi soup with Oat meal.
While, traditionally you can have your Egusi soup with Garri (eba) or Pounded yam.
Now, here’s how to make Pounded yam and Garri (eba) to accompany your egusi soup.
One famous way of eating egusi soup is with pounded yam – a dough-like side dish made out of pounded (or ground) Puna Yam – Also referred to as true yam, or African yam. It has a dark brown rough skin with off-white flesh and can be boiled, roasted, or fried. If you live outside of Africa, the best place to find yam will be the ethnic market or online stores.
For busy professionals or the diaspora who may not eat easy access to fresh yam, yam flour is available in African stores and online so you can easily make your own pounded yam at home.❣️❣️
To make Pounded Yam, all you need is Puna yam and water.
- Peel the yam and cut it into small cubes.
- Rinse about once or twice till you get clear water.
- Boil until the Yam becomes fork-tender.
- Pound or blend into a dough-like consistency until it’s completely smooth with no yam chunks left.
Pounded Yam is best enjoyed while it’s still hot and fresh.
Note: The amount of water you will need to boil the yam will vary depending on how dry the yam is. Fresh yams in the early season of the harvest will take less water while yams harvested in the later season will require more water. This also applies during the pounding, you will need more water for the dry yam and less water for the less dry yams.
Add hot water to a bowl (water must be at rolling boiling point) and sprinkle the garri into the water (distributing it evenly as much as you can) and let it absorb the water. Then, use a wooden spatula or spoon to turn it together until smooth and lump free. You can add more garri if it is too soft or more of the hot water it is too hard.
Alright Fam, thanks for reading my article. Hope you enjoyed it.
Please do not fail to comment and ask questions. You’re welcome .
Have a lovely day.
See you in my next article.