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“How to make egusi soup”
You must have tasted egusi soup before if you’re a Nigerian or you have Nigerians as friends or you’ve visited Nigeria before.
Maybe you’ve heard so much about the famous soup and you’re wondering how you too can make egusi soup.
Regardless of the category you fall under, be assured that by the end of this article you’ll have all the answers you seek.
egusi soup is a delicious meal popularly eaten by Nigerians but is the soup only eaten in Nigeria?
Let’s answer that question in our next few sections.
History of egusi
egusi melon or melon seed is a popular seed found in West Africa. The botanical name of egusi soup is Cucumeropsis mannii and is a member of the Cucurbitaceae family. It’s a subspecies of the watermelon species. It’s also a member of the gourd family.
Across West Africa, egusi seed goes by different names. Some include:
egusi is grown in multiple West African countries. These countries include:
Different Ways of Eating egusi
Egusi plant and watermelon plant share a striking resemblance. However, unlike the watermelon fruit, egusi fruit is bitter and inedible.
The egusi seeds are removed from the fruit with a shell. The shell needs to be removed from the seed to access the main seed. Regardless of what you wish to do with the seed, egusi seed must be dehulled before it’s used.
The different ways egusi seed can be used/ eaten include:
Roasted egusi seed: The egusi can be chewed like a nut. It’s eaten out of hand.
Ose oji paste: This is pounded roasted egusi seed. The paste can be eaten with bread, kola nuts, or eggplant.
egusi soup: This is when the seed is used to prepare the soup.
Palaver sauce: This is a stew eaten in Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria
12 Nutritional and Health Benefits of egusi
egusi is a cholesterol-free seed rich in protein, antioxidants, essential fatty acids, and minerals. The highly proteinous egusi seed is made up of 50% oil and 30% protein. It’s also rich in,
Amino acids arginine
Here are 10 health benefits of eating egusi:
Improves eye vision: Eguwusi is rich in vitamin A and oil, this makes it ideal for vision. Vitamin A has a tremendous impact on eye vision. It helps to produce clearer vision.
Prevents diabetes: In a clinical study carried out in Iran, egusi seed was seen to lower HbA1C and fasting blood sugar levels of diabetic patients after two months of the administration.
Remember, diabetes occurs when there is an insufficient supply of insulin in the body or when the body doesn’t respond to the hormone. The circulation of insulin in the body helps to reduce blood sugar. When the sugar in the blood is high, it leads to diabetes.
Prevents bacterial infections: Interestingly, egusi is a natural antibiotic agent. They’re as effective as an antibiotic drug. The natural active chemicals in egusi have been reported to kill bacteria such as Salmonella typhimurium, Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and staphylococcal infections.
Helps to prevent anaemia: egusi is rich in Iron, Potassium, Magnesium, Sodium, and Calcium. These minerals help vital to blood formation and regulation, especially iron. The presence of these minerals in egusi helps to prevent anaemia and other blood-related conditions.
Helps in the formation of strong bones: The calcium, potassium, magnesium, and phosphorus in egusi help in the formation of strong bones. The body needs these minerals to help with the formation of the bones and prevent bone diseases.
Lowers the blood lipid levels and prevents heart diseases: The lower your blood lipid level, the lesser your chances of having heart disease and vice versa. egusi is cholesterol-free and helps to reduce the level of cholesterol and triglycerides in the bloodstream.
Reduces Inflammation: It prevents inflammation. Methanol extract of egusi helps in the regulation of serotonin which prevents the accumulation of neutrophils at the points of inflammation.
It also promotes the release and circulation of thromboxane. The anti-inflammatory properties of thromboxane help to reduce inflammation.
Rich Source of Antioxidants: egusi is rich in antioxidants. These antioxidants help to reduce the circulation of free radicals by neutralizing them. When free radicals are left to circulate freely in the bloodstream, they increase the chances of getting cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, and heart disease. It also prevents ulcers.
Antioxidants prevent the oxidation process caused by free radicals. If this process is allowed to take place, it will lead to damage to blood vessels and cells. This is why they need to be neutralized by antioxidants.
Improves the skin quality: The presence of vitamins such as vitamin D and E and antioxidants such as alpha-tocopherol in egusi helps to improve the quality of the skin. Interestingly, these vitamins are some of the major ingredients used in making skin products. And here egusi is a natural source of skin vitamins.
egusi helps to prevent ageing due to the presence of vitamin E in it. Also, these vitamins and antioxidants help in skin repair and the general health of the skin.
Improves the digestion of food: The fibre content of egusi helps in the quick and easy digestion of food. The chances of suffering from constipation or an irregular bowel movement are drastically reduced when food digests easily.
It also improves appetite. The presence of vitamin B1 and B2 helps to break down the body fat and oil. This in return, improves the appetite, thereby encouraging healthy eating habits.
Improves the quality of hair and encourages hair growth: Yes, egusi improves the quality of hair and encourages hair growth. Its extracts are also used to prevent hair loss.
How does egusi achieve this?
That’s easy! egusi improves the quality of the hair through the natural constituents found in egusi. Studies have shown that the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants found in egusi help to increase the number of hair follicles.
Due to how effective egusi is in the prevention of hair loss, it’s used as a treatment.
It prevents malnutrition: You must have guessed this. egusi is an edible seed with a rich source of nutrients so obviously, it should prevent malnutrition. Also, natural minerals and vitamins provide a wide variety of nutritional benefits. It also improves healthy growth in children.
Now that we have established the health benefits of egusi seed, let’s look at how to make egusi soup.
How to make egusi soup
I know by now, you’re itching to get to the real deal, to learn how to make egusi soup. It’s here!
egusi soup is a rich and delicious delicacy eaten by Nigerians. The beauty of this soup is the quality and quantity of the protein used in its preparation. Without further ado, here are the ingredients used in the preparation of egusi soup:
Ingredients of egusi soup:
You can use any meat of your choice: chicken, cow meat, goat meat, turkey e, etc. Also, you can either boil or roast your chosen meat.
This is optional but if you have no qualms with fish you should include it. You can use smoked, roasted, fried o,r boiled fish. You decide which you’ll prefer.
Tomatoes are added to the soup to improve the colour and add taste. You don’t need too much tomato, 1-3 seeds ( depending on the size).
This is an optional ingredient.
Ok, this is egusi soup so this is meant to be number one on your list of ingredients. Although, you need to grind the seed to a powdery form.
Seafood such as crayfish or prawns
If you don’t have an allergy to crayfish, prawns or any other seafood, feel free to add these. You also determine the quantity to which these will be added.
Different people use different green leaves. Some popular leaves used in the preparation of egusi soup include:
Spinach, Ugwu leaf, Bitter leaf, Okazi leaf
Leaves in egusi soup give the soup a unique taste. They also supply the soap with fibre that will help with easy digestion.
This oil is rich in vitamin A, gives flavour to the soup and enables you to extract other nutrients from the soup.
Steps on how to make egusi soup
1. Season and boil your meat/fish
Season your meat or fish to your taste.
You can season your meat with garlic, pepper, onions, any other seasoning you choose, and a pinch of salt.
Marinate the meat or fish for 30 minutes then boil the meat or fish till it’s almost cooked. After this, remove from heat and extract the stock from the meat or fish, you’ll use it to cook the soup.
2. Saute Onions and tomato
Saute your onions and tomato in the oil. Make sure that your oil is heated up before adding them. Saute for 5 minutes.
3. Add the grounded egusi and meat
Add your grounded egusi and allow it to fry in the palm oil for 3 minutes. Then add your meat/fish stock and a little water ( if your stock isn’t enough). Finally, add your meat and cover your pot.
4. Add your seafood and seasoning
Once the soap starts boiling, add your seafood and seasoning. You also add pepper to your taste. Let the soup boil.
5. Add a preferred leaf
Once your soup has boiled, add your leaves and let the soup cook for 1 minute. Then take your pot off the gas or source of heat.
Serve your soap with garri, starch, fufu, or pounded yam.
egusi soup is a delicious soup eaten not only in Nigeria but across West Africa. packed with lots of essential vitamins, egusi offers many benefits to the body including in the prevention of diabetes. Egusi soup is delicious, very easy to prepare and one of those amazing meals you’d like to share with loved ones!