I am not a chef nor am I a food blogger. There are many places you can go for delicious recipes, tips and tricks; but one thing I know is that I love food. I love healthy food. I love food that won’t make me feel gross. That is hard to find nowadays. I cook most times, and I watch what I put into my dishes. I monitor the salt, oil and even sugar (but I hardly ever cook with sugar anyways). Most of my ingredients are natural and organic, from the ground to my plate. That is how I prefer it. With my traditional food it is no different. In fact, I usually try to add some ingredients with health benefits and omit ingredients more prone to giving me and my husband health consequences. As I Doctor, I am constantly preaching to my patients to do better so I much practice the same.
One of my favorite soups is Egusi. I used to think it was hard to mess up. Used to. It is a simple soup to make given you have the right ingredients. I’m going to show you how I make my own. Not to the T, because the way I season my food will not be how you like your and my biggest pet peeve is seeing people go back and forth over how much salt should be in a recipe. Season your stock to your liking, but I will show you how to get chunky, flavorful and beautiful soup like in the restaurants back home.
- Egusi, ground.
- Meat of choice
- Spinach or leaf of choice
- Salt to taste
- Black pepper to taste
- Red pepper to taste
- Two large red bell peppers
- Two onions
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 2 habanero/scotch bonnet
- 3/4 Knorr cubes (chicken)
- Optional: curry, ground crayfish, okpei, paprika I used them and like the result.
1: make your stock with meat. My meat of choice for Egusi is usually chicken and if I’m feeling doubly good then goat. You want to cook your meat with seasoning like salt, black pepper, cumin (if its goat/beef), garlic, onions and optional buillion cube (knorr). Season the stock based on what goes good with the meat. Beef likes cumin and coriander. Chicken likes thyme and paprika. Do you, but don’t cut the essentials.
2: while the stock is going I usually go to my red pepper mix, this is another base item that is necessary. I take two red peppers, one whole onion, a few garlic cloves, and a habenero/ scotch bonnet pepper. Grind to liquid consistency.
(If you were making a jollof or stew you could cook your red pepper mixture down to eliminate the water; that’s for another recipe tho)
**red pepper gives the coloring to soups and stews without having to use palm oil. That’s why I love it.
3: add this red pepper blend to your stock, allow it to cook. You can also taste at this step and add additional seasoning like curry, paprika, ground crayfish (I’m a crayfish head and a little goes a long way), okpei, cayenne or thyme. I say this because this is my base stock, so depending on what I am making, stew, Okoro, Egusi, Oha or whatever I tend to change my spices up.
Some will usually make and save excess stock in the to bring out at for other preparations. That is fine, just remember what’s in it, label it, so that you don’t get an über spicy Okoro soup… or whatever.
Also, some tend to fry off their red pepper mixture and save that as well as a paste. I do this sometimes. Save the stock and tatashe mixture separately. Just depends, but here I will instruct as if we are cooking in one round.
4: once the meat is cooked and flavored through, remove it. You can bake it or leave it, I opt not to fry it for a healthier choice.
This is how I get chunky yummy Egusi without frying or the addition of oil.
5: get your grounded Egusi ready! Now pour about a cup of the ground Egusi into the stock and stir. Keep adding Egusi until you get a creamy consistency.
6: Cover your pot and let it cook on med-low heat for 5-10 minutes.
7: open your pot. The Egusi should have caked a little bit. You can see some holes and some liquid straining to the top? Good. Stir again. You can choose to add 1/2cup – 1 cup water for more volume but most importantly you are trying to get the Egusi to the chink ones you desire. Cover again and let it cook 5-10 minutes. Check it, stir it, don’t let it burn, adjust your heat if you have to. You will repeat this step each time get chunkier pieces of Egusi. I usually do this about 3 times total.
I like my Egusi nice and chunky, not soupy or watery. This is preference however.
8: add your leaf of choice. Okazi, bitterleaf, spinach. Why bitterleaf? I’ve seen it done, I don’t recommend it. I do like spinach in my Egusi, not as authentic, but it light and green and I like the benefits. In this step I will add a whole bag of spinach. Remember spinach wilts and shrinks so don’t be intimidated.
If you are using Okazi, I recommend softening it so it’s edible immediately. I softening it with hot water in a bowl before adding to the soup. If you do this, wring it out before adding.
9: taste your soup! Touch up on those seasonings. You should have an orange, chunky, vegetably, delectable egusi soup before you.
10: eat your soup with your starch of choice. Wheat Farina is my preference (I use cream of wheat). You can also use ground oatmeal, pounded yam, garri, and I heard people are pounding eggplant and cauliflower now. Wow. Wonders shall never cease. Do your own.
- You didn’t fry
- You didn’t add palm oil
- You didn’t fry your meat
- You didn’t drown in salt
You feel good and free don’t you? You can eat this like every day can’t you? No guilt, no shame.