Are you unfamiliar with Egusi? You’re not alone.
However, this food is gaining worldwide recognition, so you might as well catch up and discover a potential favorite dish.
Usually consumed in the form of a soup, Egusi tastes nutty, rich, and spicy.
It is a staple in many West African countries, including Nigeria, Cameroon, Togo, Burkina Faso, Mali, Ghana, and Benin.
Egusi soup generally constitutes seafood, meat, green leafy vegetables, mushrooms, and awara.
So, what does Egusi taste like? While Egusi by itself has a nutty taste, the flavor of the soup comes from the different combinations of these items.
What is Egusi?
Known by many other names, like egwusi, Ikon, ohue, and agushi, Egusi is the term given to the seeds of various cucurbitaceous plants, like a gourd, melon, and squash.
It is a significant ingredient in West African cooking.
Authorities debate whether Egusi is a general name for cucurbitaceous plants or particularly for colocynth (seeds), which is a type of watermelon.
But the features of these seeds and their uses are similar when it comes to preparing and eating them.
Egusi is called agushi or akatoa in Ghana.
In Nigeria, the dish is most popular among Ibibio, Efik, Yoruba, Annang, and Igbo people.
The natives use Egusi in a type of stew called Palaver sauce.
Globalization helped people discover many traditional foods from different regions of the world, and Egusi soup is one that caught the attention of everyone because of its nutrient-packed goodness.
The soup may not look appetizing to some, but once you get to taste it, you’ll have a whole new feeling about Egusi.
The Government of Canada financed a scheme for Cameroonians to invent a machine that shells these seeds.
You can now purchase egusi seeds in the African markets and try different variations of the soup.
What Does Egusi Taste Like?
Egusi, on its own, has a rich and nutty flavor.
You could also say that it tastes like pumpkin seeds, although they are a bit blander than Egusi.
Egusi gourd looks similar to a watermelon, but it is green/yellow instead of red and bitter instead of sweet.
Therefore, people grow the plant mainly for its seeds, which are similar in almost every aspect to pumpkin seeds.
Egusi soup is a type of soup that contains ground egusi seeds.
While beef, fish, poultry, crayfish, shrimp, and offal constitute the meaty part, vegetables like pumpkin leaf, bitter leaf, spinach, and celosia go into the soup.
Some people may find the soup bitter because of the addition of bitter leaves to the dish.
You can combat that by adding some sugar. The recipe also uses a good amount of palm oil.
Don’t hesitate to reduce the amount if you’re conscious about your fat intake.
Fortunately, the soup does not have cholesterol. Egusi contains 35% protein and 50% oil (78% unsaturated).
It is a good source of sodium, magnesium, iron, zinc, potassium, manganese, phosphorus, and copper.
You can also get vitamins A, B complex, and C from egusi seeds.
How to Cook and Serve Egusi?
There are three primary steps that go into making egusi soup if you plan to cook it at home-.
- Boil the fish or meat. You might want to do this a day prior for convenience and less work, but that’s not mandatory.
- Grind the seeds. We recommend purchasing whole seeds and grinding them yourself. When it comes to checking the quality of the Egusi, whole seeds are better than pre-ground ones.
- Cook the ground seeds in palm oil, sauté some onions and add your favorite type of meat/fish plus the seasoning. .
Making egusi soup is that easy.
But you wouldn’t want to eat it alone.
So here are some foods you can make for eating with Egusi.
- Pounded Yam- The most popular dish that goes with Egusi is pounded yam. Buy some yam flour, and you can easily make it at home.
- Garri- Garri is another traditional side dish you can eat with Egusi. Check out how to make garri here.
You can enjoy Egusi in several other ways.
Go ahead and explore different recipes to enjoy this traditional West African dish with your family and friends.
With a delicious nutty and buttery flavor with a hint of spice, you cannot go wrong with Egusi.
Here’s hoping that you’ve found the answer to your questions about Egusi.
If you want to try some authentic West African food and explore different tastes, we highly recommend giving Egusi soup a go.
They are inexpensive, readily available (even in non-African places), and easy to make at home.
While there are varied traditional ways of making egusi soup, you can prepare yours based on the flavors you like.
Even if it’s the first time, there’s really nothing to mess up.
Get your hands on some egusi seeds today, and surprise your pallets.