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Egusi: The African Superfood You Need to Try

Egusi: The African Superfood You Need to Try

Published by Emma on 21st May 2022

Do you want to try a delicious and healthy superfood? If so, then you need to check out egusi. Egusi is a type of melon popular in Africa, and it is loaded with nutrients that are good for your body. In this blog post, we will discuss the health benefits of egusi and how to prepare it. So don't wait any longer – start eating egusi today.

The history behind egusi soup

Egusi is a type of melon seed with an earthy, nutty flavour. It can be eaten raw in its shell or hulled and boiled. The seeds are also ground into a powder and used for stew.

Egusi seeds have been part of West African diets since ancient times. They are a great source of protein and magnesium, and other nutrients.

Egusi soup, which typically contains egusi and other ingredients, including spinach, tomatoes, and peppers, is enjoyed throughout West Africa.

Also, fufu is a staple food in West Africa. It is made from cassava flour which is pounded into a dough, then formed into small balls or pieces, and boiled or steamed.

Egusi soup goes very well with fufu, especially if you like spicy food.

What's more, you can also eat it with other dishes such as plantain chips or suya (roasted meat).

How to make egusi soup from scratch

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1 ½ pound cubed beef stew meat
  • ½ cup peanut oil
  • Two large tomatoes, chopped
  • One small onion, peeled and chopped
  • Two habanero peppers, seeded and minced
  • About 18 ounces of tomato sauce
  • About three tablespoons of tomato paste
  • 1½ cups of water
  • 2 pounds fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 pound fresh spinach, washed and chopped

Step 1

Pour 1 cup of water into a large bowl and add the pumpkin seeds; stir well. Let it soak for 10 minutes.

Place the blender's lid on top and secure it tightly with a rubber band or string, then blend for 30 to 40 seconds or until you have a powdery paste. Set aside while you prepare other ingredients.

Step 2

Wash the beef and cut it into bite-size cubes—also, season with salt.

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat for 4 to 5 minutes. Add the beef and saute until it's brown but not cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes.

Step 3

Next, add the tomatoes, onions, and pepper to a blender. Blend for about 30 seconds or until smooth. Add tomato mixture to meat and stir well. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover the pot and cook for 40 to 50 minutes or until meat is tender.

If you want your soup thicker than usual egusi soup texture (thicker than water but not as thick as porridge), then you can use less water while cooking this dish. You can use 1 cup of water instead of 2 cups in my recipe below.

Step 4

Add tomato sauce and water to the soup.

This is your chance to add some flavour! If you don't have tomato sauce, use any tomato-based sauce that you trust.

Add enough water so that the egusi soup becomes a consistency that you like—if you want it more brothy and light, add more water; if you want it thicker and denser, add less.

Add shrimp (optional).

Shrimp is optional, but they make it taste lovely.

Step 5

Add spinach and ground pumpkin seeds to the mixture and simmer it for 10 minutes more.

Reasons to eat more egusi with your family

#1: Rich in healthy fats

There are many reasons to eat egusi with your family, but one of the most important is that it contains healthy fats. These fats help to keep you fit and strong.

Healthy fats are essential for a healthy heart, which means they can also lower your chances of getting high blood pressure or heart disease. They also help with muscle growth and development, brain function, cell repair, and hormone production.

#2: Rich in antioxidants

One of the most important reasons to eat egusi is it's rich in antioxidants. These are substances that fight off cell-damaging free radicals, which can cause ageing and disease.

Antioxidants also reverse the effects of stress on the body by protecting us from harmful chemicals called free radicals.

When you eat foods with plenty of antioxidants, they help protect your cells from damage caused by environmental factors such as UV radiation, smoke, or pollution. You'll have more energy throughout the day because your body doesn't have to work so hard to repair itself after being exposed to these stressful elements.

#3: Boosts immunity

Egusi is excellent for boosting immunity. Its vitamin C content helps to fight cold, cough, and flu.

Vitamin A in egusi helps to boost one's resistance to infection. It also contains anti-inflammatory properties that help to prevent infections.

#4: Rich in protein

Protein is one of the building blocks for muscle growth and repair, so it's essential to include enough sources in your diet, especially if you are trying to lose weight or gain lean muscle mass by exercising regularly.

#5: Great for skin health

Egusi is rich in Vitamin E, which is essential for the health of your skin. It's an antioxidant and can be used to fight free radicals that damage cells and may cause premature ageing, cancer, and cardiovascular disease.

Egusi in popular culture

Egusi is not only one of the most popular soups in Nigeria, but it's also one of the most versatile. You can enjoy egusi soup on so many occasions and all over the country—even at restaurants, which often have it on their menus.

Egusi is a melon-like fruit that grows on a vine. It's related to cucumbers, pumpkins, and watermelons. The seeds from the fruit are ground into a powder, which is then used to flavour soups and stews.

What makes this soup so delicious? Egusi soup is delicious because it has a unique flavour, texture, and colour, unlike any other soup. It has a distinctive combination of sweet flavours with spicy undertones that give it an exotic taste that can't be found anywhere else.

It's not just one ingredient that makes egusi soup so good. It's an entire meal in a bowl.

There are many ways to prepare this soup, each with its regional variations. Some cooks use tomatoes; others prefer a lighter broth made with ginger or crayfish paste.

As you might imagine, this versatile dish can be enjoyed by people from all over the country. That said, each region has its own.

Tips for making your egusi soup even better

#1: Buy the right melon seeds

You will want to buy the right melon seeds. This is because not all melon seeds are created equal. For example, if you choose a melon seed with a soft shell that breaks open while boiling, it could ruin your soup.

So, what type of melon seed should you buy? The best kind of melon seed to use in cooking Egusi soup is one with a hard shell. Usually, these seeds are fresh and have not been sitting around for very long in storage; just like other fruits and vegetables do not stay fresh forever, so do the seeds.

#2: Prepare the right meat

When preparing your soup, I recommend adding cow skin, shaki, ponmo, cow leg, and goat meat. Remember that if the meat is not prepared correctly, it will not taste as good as when it is well-prepared.

If you don't have any of these meats available at home, there are other options for you, such as dry fish (e.g., dried catfish) and stockfish. Prepare all these with salt, seasoning cubes, and ground pepper according to your preference so they can blend well with other ingredients in the soup.

#3: Get the right spices

You can't make an excellent Egusi soup without the right spices and condiments.

Egusi is a soup made from melon seeds, but there are many variations on the recipe, some of which call for tomatoes and other ingredients. The addition of these ingredients creates a new taste in your soup. However, no matter what kind of egusi you cook at home, getting the right spices will always make it taste better.

#4: Cook with the right oil

There are a lot of oils you can use to cook egusi soup. The most commonly used oil is palm oil because it has a very high smoke point and adds a subtle taste to the dish. You can also use vegetable oil.

What's more, olive oil is another option for making your soup even better than it already is.

FAQs about egusi

Who uses egusi?

The short answer to this question is "everyone." Egusi soup is a staple food in Nigeria, and it's also popular in other parts of West Africa. It's often served as a side dish at meals, but it can also be made into a meal on its own.

How long can egusi seeds last?

Ground melon seeds should be used immediately, but they can last up to a month without losing their flavour if stored in an icy environment.

You can store them in the freezer for longer, but it's best to use them as soon as possible. Freezing might change the texture and flavour of the seed, so I recommend trying to use them within a month of purchase.

How do you preserve egusi?

You can place freshly blended egusi seeds in an airtight container and store them in the fridge or freezer (it lasts longer in the freezer).

You can also store freshly blended egusi seeds in Ziploc/freezer bags (be sure to push out air from the bag before sealing) in the fridge.

Final verdict

While egusi is an African superfood, it's also an essential part of traditional dishes from other countries. So who knows--if you're interested in trying it for yourself, maybe you'll expand your palate a bit and learn something about different cultures along the way. Who doesn't like that idea?