NB: There may be better, professional ways to cook egusi soup but this is how to make the one I made and enjoyed!
Egusi or Melon Seed should not be confused for Watermelon seed. Globally, it is known as colocynth, bitter apple, bitter cucumber, desert gourd, egusi, the vine of Sodom, or wild gourd.
Egusi soup is one of the most popular soup in West Africa made from the ground melon seed. There are many ways to make egusi soup, some add tomatoes to their recipe, some fry their ground melon seed, some even mould the powdered melon to get a certain kind of texture or taste. Well, I had set out to cook my own egusi soup and I followed a simple method which even makes the egusi soup more nutritious than when it is fried.
After cooking your egusi soup, you can decide to pound cooked yam, potatoes or use Garri, wheat flour, cassava flour or any of your favourite “swallows” to eat the soup. For people like me who isn’t usually a fan of swallow foods, I often cook soup and eat my soup just like that! And yes, you could also cook white rice and use the egusi soup as an alternative to the sauce! Let’s get straight to the point
Health Benefits / Nutritional Value
It improves appetite, highly antioxidant, helps in digestion, improves the vision, reduces inflammation, promotes the heart health, prevents malnutrition, helps in the formation and development of bones, prevents anaemia and so on!
Egusi seed is full of vital vitamins and important nutrients that are good for the body system. It includes protein, potassium, vitamin B1, sulphur, fats, calcium, magnesium, carbohydrate, zinc, copper, vitamins A, E and C, manganese, dietary fibre and lots more!
1. 300mg of Ground Melon Seed
2. Dried Fish and Stock Fish
3. Cow Skin
5. Four cubes of seasoning (Knorr)
6. Pumpkin leaves (or bitter leaf)
7. Dried Pepper or Chilli powder
9. Palm oil
NB: The quantity of meat, fish, pepper, salt and so on depends on how you like it. For instance, I don’t eat too much pepper and I may not add a lot of it to my dish. If you just want a very small serving, you may want to use 150mg of Melon seed.
1. Ensure that you are using ground melon seed. If you bought the seed itself, you may need to use your grinding machine to blend it to powdered form.
2. Wash the pumpkin leaves (or bitter leaf) and cut to very tiny pieces.
3. Wash your beef and cow skin.
4. I hate fish bones, they scare me a lot when am eating so I ensure I do my best to remove as many bones as I can from the fish. Wash the dried fish, carefully crack it open and remove the bones. You may need to cook your stock fish for a while to ensure it softens very well.
5. Set aside all your ingredients for easy access while cooking.
Now let’s get cooking!
1. Put your dried and stockfish together into your cooking pot, add the cow skin, two cubes of seasoning and a little less than 1 litre of water. Turn up the heat. Depending on how tough the cow skin and the fish is, you may need to cook it for up to 20 minutes. You may have to continue checking
2. When you are sure that the cow skin, dried fish and stockfish has softened very well, add your beef, crayfish (I used four teaspoons of powdered crayfish), pepper, salt and allow it to cook further for about 10 minutes. Cook till the beef is done.
3. Remove the fish and meats from the stock (juice) and set aside in a plate or pot. Add the ground melon seed and stir. Now, I am sure the water in the stock may have dried up and you will need to add water. Ensure you add just little by little and stir. The goal here is to have a lightly-thick egusi mix.
4. Allow to cook for several minutes and because you have stirred it, it may burn if you don’t watch closely and stir at random. (Don’t leave the kitchen for the sitting room, you may get distracted and the soup get burnt up!)
5. When you notice the essential oil in the seed coming up on the water, add palm oil. I used four cooking spoons of oil and depending on how powerful your oil is, you may add less or more. Add your pumpkin or bitter leaf vegetable, two cubes of seasoning and allow to cook for five minutes or a little bit more until it all mix together.
6. Add the assorted meat and fish you have set aside and also ensure to add salt to taste. Now, allow a minute or two of simmer and boom! Egusi soup is done. Turn off the heat.
7. Clean up the things you’ve used, wash your hand towels, clean your kitchen top and relax yourself to have a good meal. You can serve with your favourite pounded foods, white rice or you just enjoy your soup! It may be up to four servings!
This is how I love to cook mine.
~ George O.N