Pounded yam with Egusi is almost becoming a Sunday lunch meal in my home. My son seems to know it now too, so when I got back from the salon last night, he said “Mama, can I have pounded yam tomorrow?” I said yes of course. Inspite of him having his mandatory Jollof Rice -which we must buy after service from Mrs John Mark-, he still finished my fist size of pounded yam and egusi soup.
My favourite form of Egusi Soup is the lumpy type. You know that type, that is chewy and almost feels like you are biting into an egg? Credit to Mummy dearest for teaching me how to make this.
Egusi (Melon Seeds)
Assorted Meats (Snail, Cowleg, Goat meat)
Assorted Fish (Stock fish, Smoked fish)
Shredded Vegetable (Ugu / Efirin/ Spinach etc)
Pepper Mix (Tomatoes + Scotch Bonnet + Jalapeño/Bawa/Sombo/ long tatashe)
Iru (locust beans )
Preparing the Egusi
Blend your melon dry, then add one grated onion and mix till all is incorporated and the oil is beginning to seep from the egusi. Roll into little balls and set aside.
Blend egusi with onions and a little water to a very thick smooth paste.
Heat up palm oil in a pan, add the egusi balls(you can fry the egusi balls mixed onions in method 1 above too) or scoop fulls depending on the method of blending.
Fry the egusi in the oil turning both sides. It’s almost like frying akara only it doesn’t get as fried, then turn off the heat.
Making the Soup
If using fresh meat, season with bouillon cubes, salt, *catfish head if you have and cook till nearly done. Add blended pepper and allow to cook -you may add more chopped Onions if you haven’t used too much already in boiling the meat-.
If you have cooked meat, Cook blended fresh pepper + chopped onions, add meat stock -if you have none just season the pepper – and add meat just before pepper is done.
Next add crayfish powder,Iru, your stock fish and other condiments like those listed in the recipe. Taste for seasoning if you have used meat stock you may not have need to re-season your soup. Add your Vegetable
Now add your fried egusi or rolled egusi balls by dropping the balls you have rolled/fried into your pepper as it is cooking. Do not cover the pot and don’t stir with a spoon, just shake the pot together – if you most stir use a ladle- shake pot together and if need be add water. The balls would still hold together and you’d have lumpy Egusi. Just make the balls a little bigger. do not stir with a spoon
Serve with any swallow of your choice.
You might think I was a little too generous with the oil -Oyel as I love to call it.- this is what to note about egusi.
Egusi (melon seeds)are very oil rich. One characteristic of well cooked egusi is that it gives off its oil during cooking hence the need to use minimal oil. If egusi is cooked well you’d find oil float at the top. This is a combination of the oil you added and the oil from the egusi itself and likely some fats from the meats added