Egusi Soup: Meaning, Origin, Health Benefits & Preparation
MEANING OF EGUSI & IT’S ORIGIN
Egusi soup as we are all know is a major delicacy in Nigeria and most other West Africa countries.
Before we go further, I will like us to know what the term “Egusi” means and how it is gotten.
Egusi (also known by variants that include agusi, agushi) is the name of the fat and protein-rich seeds of some cucurbits (squash, melon, gourd), that after being dried and ground are used as the main ingredient in the West African cuisine.
Authorities do not agree that the word is used more appropriately for the seeds of colocynth, those of a particular variety of large seeds of watermelon, or generically for those of any cucurbitaceous plant.
The characteristics and uses of all these seeds are very similar. Best egusi-seed
growing nations include Mali, Burkina Faso, Togo, Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Benin, Nigeria and Cameroon.
Egusi soup is a kind of soup thickened with ground seeds and popular in West Africa, with significant local variations.
In addition of the seeds, water and oil, egusi soup typically contain leafy vegetables, other vegetables, condiments, and meat. The leafy vegetables generally used for egusi soup include bitter leaves, pumpkin leaf, celosia and spinach.
Other typical vegetables include tomatoes and okra. Typical seasonings include peppers, onions and carob. As well commonly used are beef, goat, fish, shrimp or prawns.
In Nigeria, egusi is very popular among the Igbo of southeastern Nigeria, the village of Ibibio and the village of Efik (village of Calabar) of southern Nigeria, the Hausa from Northern Nigeria and the Village of Edo, Esan and Etsakọ to the Southwest of Nigeria. Yoruba people in general and in particular people of the state of Ọṣun – especially the people of Ijesha – eat “Iyan and Egusi”, a pounded yam and egusi soup.
In Ghana, egusi is also called Akatoa of Agushi, and as in Nigeria it is used as soup and stew, and the most popular in palaver sauce.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF EGUSI SOUP
Moreover, there are health benefits regarding to this delicacy and before one could start preparing egusi soup, the shelled melon seeds is dried up under the sun and then grind plain or it could be roasted/fried before grinding.
Egusi(melon) is very rich in oil and this oil can be use for the production of margarine, butter and other animal feed.
Here are some health benefits you get when you include this food in your daily meal.
1. Anti-inflammatory properties
The melon contains anti-inflammatory properties that help treat infections and injuries.
One study reveals that egusi methanol extract significantly inhibited serotonin,
carrageenan and prostaglandin that helps fight inflammation.
2. Help fight cancer
Egusi is a good herbal cure for cancer and is the best cure for breast cancer.
The results of a study by Grossman et al. (2007) have shown that cucurbitacin
glycosides have pleiotropic effects on cells that lead to apoptosis and
cell cycle arrest. Therefore, cucurbitaceous glycosides show therapeutic effects against
breast cancer cells.
3. Contains anti-arthritic properties
Kachhawah et al., (2016) studied the effect of hydroalcoholic melon extract fruits against antiarthritic activity. The study aimed to develop a standardization
protocol for the antiarthritic effects of the extract containing cucurbitacin glucoside and quercetin.
The study showed that the hydroalcoholic extract of the melon fruit is important
arthritic properties. This is attributed to its rich component of such phytochemicals
as flavonoids As a result, it can be used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, which it is an autoimmune disease that is characterized by chronic inflammation of the joints, stiffness, swelling, pain and redness of the joints.
4. Dermatological purposes
Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) and niacin in this plant help maintain healthy skin.
The oil extracted from the egusi seeds can be used to produce local soap and ointments
for dermatological treatment.
5. Helps digestion and increases appetite
Due to the presence of dietary fiber and vitamin B1 (thiamine) in the melon (egusi). It is useful for digestion of food. “And it helps increase appetite due to itsc constituentof vitamin B1.
With all these health benefits, I’m quite sure you will love to try this if you haven’t and maybe not being able to prepare this delicacy.
HOW TO PREPARE EGUSI SOUP
Source – Knorr
200 g of Egusi seed,
400 g of beef,
50 g of cooked and boned stock fish pieces,
3 Tbsp. (45ml) of ground dried crayfish,
1 small bunch of Ugwu or bitter leaves,
50 ml of palm oil,
2 Knorr Stock Cubes,
1 small onions,
4 large fresh tomatoes,
1 tsp (5ml) ground chilli powder.
1. Cut the beef into small cubes, season with one chopped onion and one Knorr Stock Cube. Add half a cup of water and boil for about 10 minutes or until tender. Set aside.
2. Mix the ground egusi in half a cup of water. Set aside. Blend the tomatoes, the second onion and the chilli. Set aside.
3. Heat the palm oil in another pot and add the Egusi mixture. Stir well and allow it to fry for a moment. Add the blend and stir well. Then Add the ground crayfish, second Knorr cube and stock fish.
4. Add 2 cups of water and allow to cook for five minutes. Add the boiled meat and stir. Turn the heat down and simmer for a further two minutes.
5. Wash and finely slice the Ugwu or bitter leaves. Add to the simmering soup and stir. Continue to simmer for a further five minutes to allow the vegetables to soften.
Serve with cassava fufu, garri or pounded yam.
|Egusi soup and pounded yam|
|Egusi soup and fufu|
|Egusi soup and eba
Do have a lovely meal.