Have you tried egusi Ijebu with ‘smoked’ fish?

Egusi Ijebu is a melon seed soup popular among the Ijebu people in Ogun State. Egusi Ijebu soup is prepared without vegetables, unlike the popular efo elegusi. It is also without clumps, unlike oshiki (lumpy egusi).

To enhance the taste of egusi Ijebu, it is important to add ogiri (a local seasoning made from melon). This gives it the signature egusi ijebu taste. However, if you don’t like ogiri, you can make do with locust beans. It is important to roast the egusi first before you blend it. The roasting releases the oil in the egusi and also its flavour. Try smoked fish and goat meat for this recipe and you’ll never have it any other way again.

 

Ingredients

Assorted meat (beef, shaki, ponmo, goat meat, cow leg, smoked turkey are ideal)

Whole egusi/grinded egusi

Palm oil

Chicken/beef stock

Red bell pepper (tatashe)

Onion

Scotch bonnet (atarodo)

Smoked catfish/eja osan/eja aro (optional)

Stockfish/panla (optional)

Ogiri or locust beans

Stock cubes

Salt

 

How it is made

Blend the peppers and scotch bonnet till it is smooth and set aside.

Wash the smoked fish and soak in hot water to remove all dirt, then set aside.

Pour peeled egusi into a frying pan; and roast for 7-10 minutes on medium heat and set aside. Add 1 cup of stock or water into a blender; add the roasted egusi and onion; blend till smooth. Place pot on medium heat, add palm oil and locust beans if you’re using any, then add the blended pepper. Do not add salt. Fry the pepper for 8-10 minutes , enough time to have reduced the size  by almost half. Then add the stock, combine and leave to cook for 3-5 minutes.

Turn the heat down to low and add the blended egusi mixture gradually. Stir thoroughly and cook for 10 minutes. You need to stir consistently to avoid clumping up. Do not add salt or seasoning.

Egusi ijebu is very fluid, so make sure you add more water or stock if it begins to thicken up.

Add meat and the ogiri. Stir to melt and combine taste for seasoning. You may add the stock cubes at this time, but be careful not to over season if you used stock previously.

Now, add the smoked fish. Leave it to cook for 3-5 minutes, then switch the heat off and let it simmer  for 2-3 minutes. by then, the oil will start to settle on the top. It’s done.

Serve with your favorite swallow, or with boiled white rice, boiled or fried plantain, and bread,etc.

 

Health Benefits

Melon seed is widely grown and used in West Africa. Its seed is rich in fat as well as protein . In Nigeria, it is used mostly in the preparation of egusi soup.

Egusi is packed with many beneficial nutrients which are good for the body. These nutrients are not limited to protein, but also potassium, vitamin B1, sulphur, fat, calcium, magnesium, carbohydrates, zinc, copper, vitamin A, E and C, manganese, fibre and more.

Egusi improves appetite. The vitamin in melon seed provides exceptional benefits to the body. The presence of vitamin B1 (thiamine) and vitamin B2 (riboflavin)makes the fat and oil in the body to undergo metabolism, which is also good for improving appetite.

Egusi helps to improve the skin. The vitamins such as E, as well as others, help to improve, and make the skin healthy as well. These vitamins, in most cases, are used in the production of skin care products such as soap, because of its benefit to the skin.

Egusi seed contains alpha-tocopherol, which does not only act as antioxidant, but also as a vitamin E, as it helps in improving the skin and prevent ageing (anti-ageing properties) by reducing wrinkles, dry skin. It is also used for various dermatological purposes.

Owing to its antioxidant properties, it helps to prevent cells from damages due to the oxidation process in the body. It also  helps to prevent ulcer and other health conditions caused by the oxidation processes in the body.

It helps in digestion as its fibre is also good for the body due to its ability to aid digestion.

Vitamin A contents in egusi, as well as the oil, is good for consumption because of its function in the improvement of vision and more. They are said to be inflammatory mediators.

Its protein content as well as other essential minerals and vitamins, makes it a good source of food that prevents malnutrition. In some cases, it is often grinded and used as a supplement for baby food which provides them with nutrients needed to grow.

 

egusi


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