If there is anything that can be regarded as a staple in the whole of Nigerian cuisine, it is soup.
Across ethnic groups and tribes we find soups, though they vary according to vegetable, thickening agent, spices, meat as well as consistency.
Soups are not eaten alone, they are paired with swallows such as Fufu, Eba, Amala, Pounded yam, Shinkafa, Semovita and so on.
In this piece we will be exploring the most popular soup in the country and how to cook it with the special Bigmama twist.
This soup made from melon seeds can be regarded as the most popular Nigerian soup because it is eaten by most tribes in the country.
If you are serving soups in your event and Egusi soup is not on the menu, then you may have to double check your menu again.
Egusi or Gushi in Hausa is the chief ingredient for this versatile yet elite soup.
It can be prepared either by frying the melon or boiling it.
Note: Some people, mostly the Igbos, also prefer to mould some of the melon into little cake balls to give flair to the soup. This is called “akpuruakpu egusi”.
4 cups (500g) Egusi (Melon) seeds
3 cooking spoons red palm oil
Beef: best cut and Shaki (or cow tail)
Fish: dry fish and stockfish
2 tablespoons ground crayfish
Pepper and Salt (to taste)
Vegetable: pumpkin leaves, okazi leaves, spinach or bitter leaf according to preference
Stock seasoned with #BigMamaSpices to taste
Optional Sweeteners like ogiri (mostly for the Igbos) or Locust Beans (mostly for the Yorubas)
Points to note on the ingredients:
Soak the stock fish for about 10-20 minutes because it’s usually tough. Depending on the toughness of the fish, you can leave it for longer, till you can break it.
Wash the dry fish and stockfish and divide into sizeable pieces
Boil both stockfish and dry fish for about 7 minutes
Cook beef or any other meat with #BigMama seasoning powder, salt and pepper as required
*Some people prefer to allow the meat cook for a while and then add the dryfish and stockfish and cook everything till done
Grind the egusi with a dry mill and set aside.
Do the same for crayfish and the dry pepper separately and set aside.
Wash the vegetable of choice and cut into tiny pieces.
Cooking Directions 1 – Frying Method
Pour the red/palm oil into a dry pot set on your cooker. As soon as the oil melts, add the ground egusi and fry. If the oil is not congealed, add the egusi as soon as the oil heats. Mix the ground egusi with oil till every grain of egusi turns yellow and stir.
You have to regulate your cooker from low to medium heat, high heat will burn your soup without cooking it properly. Keep stir-frying for about 10 minutes.
Add the meat/fish stock to the oil and egusi mix. Add little by little while still stirring the egusi. If the stock is not enough to get it to your consistency of choice, you can add water.
Allow to cook properly for 20-30 minutes, stirring at intervals, 4-5 minutes. If you don’t stir, it will burn. Ensure your egusi cooks properly so it doesn’t taste raw/uncooked.
Add ground crayfish.
Stir very well and add the cooked stockfish, beef or any other protein.
Add your vegetable of choice, Ugu, Spinach, Okazi, etc
Note: if you’re using bitter leaf you have to add it when you’re adding stock because it’s a tough vegetable.
Check the consistency, If it is too thick, add some water.
Cover and leave to simmer
Serve with swallow of choice, Eba, Pounded yam, demo, etc.
Cooking Directions 2 – Boiling Method
This method is healthier than the former and those fitfam folks trying to snatch their waistline will need this method as it does not need frying and uses less oil too.
Boil the meat, stock fish and dry fish with #BigMama seasoning powder, salt and pepper till properly cooked.
Soak the stockfish for some time before boiling because it’s usually tough.
As soon as the fish or meat is done, add crayfish
Add the ground egusi to the stock and stir. If the stock is not enough to produce a medium consistency, add some water to get a thinner consistency.
Cover and boil till egusi cakes, this would take about 30 minutes depending on the quantity of your soup and amount of heat. If you stir and find it thicker than you would like it, add water.
Note: As you add water, also ensure you are tasting for salt as the soup will become less saturated with salt on every addition of water.
How to know when your soup is ready is when the oil rises to the top of the soup.
Add your vegetable of choice and serve
BIGMAMA SEASONING POWDER SPECIALS
Depending on the flavour you seek to achieve for your BigMama special egusi soup, choose any of the #BigMama Seasoning Powder Flavours viz – Goat Meat Flavour, Chicken Flavour, Fish Flavour or Shrimp Flavour to season your meat or fish stock as required and voila you will arrive at your prefered destination of BigMama Seasoning Powder Special Egusi Soup
And while at it, do not forget to send us your best cook pictures or videos and you will be featured on our social media platforms @bigmamaspices