Egusi soup is an exciting dish, which is made using ripe egusi, palm oil, fish, peanuts and other spices. We have our interesting habits and perspectives about what makes us happy as Nigerians. Egusi soup is one of them. I can tell you that it is very relevant to Nigerian life and culture. If you are based in Nigeria and have ever eaten at a Nigerian restaurant, chances are you’ve tried egusi soup.
It is a popular soup among the locals and it has become part of our culture. Different regions have different ways of preparing theirs. And for those considering moving to Nigeria, it is vital that you learn more about egusi soup, understands its relevance, and try out homemade Nigerian egusi soup as part of your research.
Egusi soup has been associated with weddings, funerals and other community gatherings among Nigerians, especially in the southern region.
In this write-up, I will be highlighting the importance of the soup and why it should be consumed regularly
History of Egusi Soup
Egusi soup is a traditional Nigerian soup made of ground melon seeds, which are also called melon seeds in some parts of Nigeria. Egusi soup is prepared with vegetable oil or palm oil and is eaten with pounded yam, garri (cassava), semolina or amala.
The soup originated in the southern part of the Benin Republic. It is a staple food to the people of the South-south region, South-Eastern part of Nigeria, Yorubaland and Edo State in Nigeria.
Egusi seeds, on the other hand, have been grown for more than 500 years. In the Southern Benin Republic, it was first known as agushi (which means bitter). The word egusi was used by Efik traders who sold the seeds to the people of the Benin Republic around the 17th century. It was named so because the seeds were bitter and not tasty. The Egusi plant has been domesticated in Central Africa where it was cultivated by the Bantu people over 4,000 years ago before they migrated southward to establish settlements in present-day Nigeria and Cameroon.
What Are The Health Benefits of Egusi Soup
This soup recipe has some vital nutrients that promote good health and protect against diseases, especially cancer. This recipe contains lots of calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc. It also contains folate, potassium and vitamin B6, which boosts the immune system and keeps the heart-healthy. It is low in calories: It is low in saturated fat but high in dietary fibre. In addition, this Nigerian dish is low in sodium and cholesterol, so it is perfect for people watching their weight or suffering from hypertension or high blood pressure conditions. It can also help with weight loss by satisfying appetite without adding.
Egusi, which is the seed used in preparing this soup contains antioxidants that help fight diseases and reduce inflammation in the body. The amino acid arginine found in this soup helps regenerate cells making it effective for wound healing, fighting infection and boosting immunity.
This seed contains about 75% water making the soup very easy to digest. It helps improve bowel movement and reduces constipation without causing stomach discomfort.
The soup also contains vitamin A which plays a role in maintaining healthy vision, growth, development and cell reproduction. Vitamin A also promotes healthy skin and nails and regulates the immune. Vitamin C helps with the formation of collagen that helps with tissue repair.
Women should be especially encouraged to eat this often because it boosts the immune system (stated above), prevents cancer and improves skin health.
It is also a good source of iron, calcium and zinc. It is rich in protein, which is essential for good health, especially for pregnant women as it builds muscles in the baby’s body resulting in strong bone development. Iron helps red blood cells deliver oxygen to all parts of the body including vital organs like the heart, brain, pancreas and lungs. Calcium is essential for a well functioning heart while zinc is important for a healthy immune system. Women who eat egusi regularly have stronger bones as compared to those who don’t.
What Do You Eat This Soup With?
Egusi soup is a very common Nigerian dish, but there are many ways to serve egusi soup. You can have egusi soup with fufu, semolina, garri, amala, eba or even rice. Tastes differ from one part of Nigeria to another.
The type of egusi and vegetables used also differs from one part of the country to another. They use different vegetables depending on the season and availability of vegetables in their area. Some use tomatoes in their soup while others don’t. Some use pumpkin leaves in their soup while others don’t. Some even eat it with bread and some will add Okro or ewedu to the soup. Egusi soup is not only eaten by adults but children as well because it is delicious and healthy too.
A traditional egusi recipe can take a lot of time to prepare, but you can easily speed up the process by using canned or frozen tomatoes or ground melon seed.
In some tribes, people prefer to drink the Egusi Soup while in others eat it with pounded yam or rice depending on the household. Eating egusi soup without rice or pounded yam is considered a big no-no in some parts of Nigeria.
How To Get The Ingredients and prepare it
Nigeria is a nation with many tribes and cultures. This means that each tribe has their own way of doing things when it comes to food.
I will tell you one sure way of getting the ingredients of this legendary soup in Lagos Nigeria.
1. Pick up some grains of egusi seeds and every other ingredient below. They are available online at grainfieldfoods.com.
2. Select your vegetables. Carrots, onions, peppers and tomatoes are all traditional ingredients in egusi soup, but you can use whatever vegetables you like best. Some people even add corn or sweet potatoes to their recipe. (Click here to get your vegetables)
3. Pick your meat. Beef is the most common choice for egusi soup, but chicken, goat or mutton also work well as alternatives to beef for this recipe.
5. Combine all of your ingredients in a slow cooker with water or stock and cook them on low heat until the vegetables are tender.
6. Add salt to taste and serve immediately
This soup has been in existence for a very long time now and its popularity shows no sign of waning
It is a delicacy that is eaten by many Nigerians – both young and old, rich and poor. It is inclusive and enjoyed by everyone across different cultures and religions. Although the ingredients change slightly according to recipe and locality of consumption, there are many things in common between them all. The recipe is both healthy and delicious. Most importantly, it demonstrates the relevance of Nigeria’s culture to Nigerians themselves, as well as to this world we live in. It is healthy, delicious, inexpensive and remains an important dietary component in the diverse array of cuisines in Nigeria.
The recipe for egusi soup is not too hard to follow and it is quite easy to prepare. The ingredients are basic and may be found in most local markets and online marketplaces. One of which is Grainfield Foods. Cooking time will depend on whether the vegetables used are fresh or tinned. Appetizing and colourful, the taste of a good egusi soup is quite spicy but mild at the same time.
So, have you been caught up in the craze that is egusi soup? You really should try it