Ofe egusi or also known as “egusi soup.” Egusi soup is abundantly prepared with egusi and then with the kind of meat or fish used.
Egusi soup served with pounded yam is one of the best meals any Igbo person will be grateful to eat. And once again, yam in Igbo language is called “ji”. Annually, yam is celebrated by Igbo people; the celebration which is known as “iri ji” or “new yam festival”, this is to show the importance of yam to Igbo land. Igbo people have faith that when a new yam is celebrated, the coming year’s yam farming will be favourable. Thus, whether yam is pounded, boiled, fried, porridged or grounded, it is one of the best foods in Igbo land.
Sometimes we take some of these foods for granted because we eat it all the time and we forget how significant it is. One day I was surprised when my niece at University of Hartford called me on a phone complaining about her mother. She said “I have been at the University for six months now, and coming home, I was looking forward for egusi soup, instead my mother made agbono soup, my mother knows that I don’t like agbono soup and she still made it. I was thinking that my mother would at least made egusi soup for me knowing that I am coming back on holiday today.” I then reassured her that I will tell her mother to be making egusi soup for her whenever she is coming back from the university.
Egusi soup with pounded yam is a plate of dish that both young and old could appreciate. In Igbo land, egusi soup served with pounded yam is everybody’s favourite and the dish is highly nutritious with health benefits. This soup is an as an excellent source of protein, vitamins, folic acid, calcium, iron, magnesium and zinc, according to Nwagbo.
Nwagbo said in her article in the Guardian that “egusi (melon seed), the main ingredient of this recipe has many medicinal values due to its high oil content. Study has showed that egusi seed contains considerable amount of oil and it has protective effect against coronary heart diseases. Egusi soup consumption helps to fight against infections, promotes healthy heart, skin, nails and nerves; and helps in quick wound healing. Fibre from the vegetables used in this soup preparation helps in prevention and treatment of constipation. Take this soup with pounded yam and enjoy all its health benefits.”
Egusi soup served with pounded yam is recommended for everybody but highly beneficial for people that need energy to carry out their day-to-day activities, boost their immune system, prevents constipation, anaemia, and malnutrition. It is ideal food to eat to help replenish energy and nutrient loss during fasting.
Beef 8 medium pieces
Ugu leaves 1 medium bunch
Dry Egusi seeds 1½ cups (milk tin)
(ground) red pepper 1teaspoon
Fresh pepper 4 large size
Onion 1 medium
Palm oil 100ml
Dry ground crayfish 10g
Fresh tomatoes 120g
Water 1½ litres
Deboned dried fish 1
Seasonings 2 maggi cube
Salt To taste
Method of preparation
Wash and season the beef with onion, maggi cube, salt and pepper then steam till juice dries up.
Ground Egusi seeds give the soup a unique colour and flavour.
Wash the Ugu leaves well in clean, fresh water.
Blend the onions, tomatoes and egusi seeds until smooth.
Add the dry ground pepper and fry in palm oil for five minutes.
Add the water, cover the pot on and cook for five minutes.
Add the shredded ugu, replace lid and cook for a further five minutes.
Finally, add all other available ingredients.
Remove from heat and serve with pounded yam.
Common or white yams are staple food in many tropical regions. It is rich in carbohydrates in form of starch, B group vitamins, vitamin C and potassium. This food is highly recommended for people that want to maintain a healthy heart and prevent cardiovascular disorders, particularly arteriosclerosis (narrowing/ blocking of the artery wall as a result of fat and cholesterol deposit) because of their low content of fat and their richness in potassium which is essential for a healthy heart.
Equipment for preparation
Mortar, pestle, pot, knife, cooking gas
Yam 3 medium slices
water 1 litre
Method of preparation
Cut, peel and wash the yam.
Put the yam in a pot, add enough water and place the pot on the fire.
Boil until the yam is cooked.
Drain it from water.
Pound the yam in a mortar or pounding machine until it is free from lumps and slightly elastic.
Mould and serve with Egusi soup.