So I was on the internet some time ago and I realized that there are many people, all over the world, who actually love to learn about African traditional food recipes. Yeah, we’ve got a lot of rich foods, drinks and even desserts that put your taste buds under a really serious aromatic and sensuous attack.
So, over a period of time, for you our dear readers, we will be uploading some wonderful easy-to-make African recipes that are simply delightful.
Harriet Van Horne once said that “Cooking is like love, it should be entered into with abandon or not at all”. I agree with her. Cooking is something that gives me a lot of joy and satisfaction. Slicing, dicing, sautéing, frying, broiling, boiling…these are things that I derive pleasure in doing. Not just because it’s a chore (as it is for most of us). Cooking shouldn’t be a chore. It should be a delight. Imagine the heart and soul that goes into creating that perfect dish at that superb restaurant. Instead of eating out all the time, you can create, cook up something absolutely fabulous.
Cooking is a pleasure. It is much like romance. It is absolutely like love. I know I might be reaching a bit but I want you to fall in love with my melon seeds soup recipe. We call it egusi soup here in Nigeria. It is something you can whip up easily and quickly.
So, here’s what you need;
- 600g melon (egusi) seeds
- 2 cooking spoons of red palm oil
- Prawns or shrimp
- Dried fish and stock fish
- 3 tablespoons ground crayfish
- Red peppers and salt (to taste)
- Vegetables (fluted pumpkin leaves or spinach)
- 2 bouillon cubes
There are different methods used in making melon seeds (egusi) soup. Today’s method is the caking method. Here’s how to go about it;
Before preparing the soup;
- Soak the dry fish for about half an hour. If you are using the very tough stock-fish, boil it for 20 minutes and leave in the pot with the hot water to soak for about an hour. If using the softer stock-fish, you can just soak them in cool water till you can break them apart with your hands.
- When the fish and stock-fish are soft, debone and break them into sizable chunks.
- Cook your prawns or shrimp separately until they are soft.
- Much closer to your cooking time, grind the egusi with a blender or dry mill.
- Grind the crayfish and the dry pepper separately and set aside. Wash the vegetable to be used. Cut into tiny pieces.
- Boil the stock fish and dry fish in 1 litre of water with the stock cubes till they are well done.
- Wash the meat to be used for the soup, season and cook on medium heat till done.
After preparing all the ingredients;
- Add the ground egusi to the stock and stir. If the stock from cooking your meat and fish is not enough to give you a medium consistency, add some water to get the consistency of evaporated milk or a bit thicker. It will not be as smooth as evaporated milk though.
- Cover and cook till the egusi cakes. Stir and add a little bit more water. watch it closely so that it does not burn.
- Repeat step 3, adding only a small quantity of water at a time. After about 25 minutes, you will notice the clear egusi oil coming to the surface of the soup.
- Add the red palm oil and bitter leaves (if it is your choice of vegetable), pepper and salt to taste and cook for about 7 minutes. You know it is good to continue when the palm oil and egusi forms a good blend of light yellow color.
- Add the cooked meat, prawns/ shrimp, and fish. If you are using pumpkin leaves or any other soft vegetable, add it at this time and stir the soup.
- Add salt to your taste, stir and leave to simmer for 2 minutes maximum.
- Turn off the heat. Leave to stand for about 5 minutes before serving.
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