Egusi is also called unity soup in Nigeria, this is because the entire populace enjoy and delight in this nutritious soup. The difference is only in the method of cookery and eating.
Egusi soup as a common delicacy in Nigeria and other parts of Africa, especially many parts of West Africa is eaten by virtually every tribe and ethnic group although prepared in different ways.
This melon soup is usually garnished with assorted vegetables ranging from bitter leaves to water leaves, ugu [pumpkin] leaves, okazi leaves and many others.
Some people fry their egusi while cooking, others add direct to the pot of cooking stock with oil. Some other people, especially the South Western Ijebus usually make the soup in a stew-like manner, with this, the soup is used for eating rice, yam or boiled plantain as well as any swallow, especially iyan, lafu and amala.
Hey, some of my folks from the South East and South South usually mix their egusi with either Okazi and waterleaves to make a salivating soup, with plenty sea food like isam, snails, dry fish and shrimps dancing inside the pot of soup! Hhmmn! Still on the same egusi, some people prefer ugu and waterleaves with sprinkles of the egusi – these could be molded or scatter around the pot…. Everything is known as EGUSI SOUP!
Egusi which grows in form of melon is filled with very dry, bitter flesh, the seeds are the true delicacy of this melon.
Egusi is composed of nearly 50 percent edible oil and another 30 percent pure protein.
In many parts of Africa, where farmers lack access to meat or dairy, the high oil and protein content can make an excellent dietary supplement.
Nutritional value of Egusi seeds
- Egusi is reportedly high in nutritional value as it is said to be rich in protein, fat and vitamins A, B1, B2 and C.
- It is made up of 30 – 40 % protein, and about the same proportion of oil.
- These proteins are essential for the maintenance of muscles in the human body.
- Reports say around 100 grams of egusi seeds contain about 30 grams of protein.
- For those who are suffering from protein deficiency diseases like marasmus and kwashiorkor, proper treatment and cure can be made possible by proper intake of egusi
- In terms of vitamins, it contains alpha-tocopherol, a component of vitamin E.
- It provides essential amino acids, which are not readily available in the body like arginine and lysine.
- Egusi seed as a great source of Arginine helps in regulating metabolism and improves the cardiovascular system while Lysine helps in the formation of collagen and connective tissues in the body.
- It is also low in calories and very good for those who are looking to shed some fat or run away from obesity.
- The Egusi seed is an excellent source of nutritional minerals and vitamins such as carboahydrate, fat, zinc, vitamin B1 (Thiamine), dietary fibre, sulphur, magnesium, vitamins B2 (Riboflavin), niacin and manganese amongst others.Ok , enough of the grammar, let’s visit the kitchen!
Recipe for 4 servings
2 smoked catfish
1 kilogram lean beef
2 bunches ugu leaves [washed, shredded]
2 small stockfish
3 cups egusi [ground]
2 tablespoons ground crayfish
1 onion [shredded]
4 red pepper [ground]
- Wash, salt, season, and cook the beef, stockfish and fish until the meat is quite tender.
- Continue the boiling and taste for salt.
- Add the palm oil, crayfish, pepper and the onions and boil for another three minutes.
- Stir and add the ground egusi, cover and simmer for two minutes.
- Stir before adding the shredded ugu leaves.
- Stir thoroughly and simmer for two minutes.
- Remove from heat and serve alongside hot iyan, that is pounded yam or any other swallow of your choice.
Compliment of the season!