from: Western Africa | cooking method: boiling-simmering
Various Egusi soups are favorites in Western Africa. The soup is thickened with flour ground from seeds of a species of Cucurbitaceae (which includes gourds, melons, pumpkins, and squashes, many of which are native to Africa). In Western Africa, these plants and seeds, as well as soups and stews made with them, are all called Egusi, and this is the name most commonly used outside of Africa.
Look for egusi (also called agusi, agushi, egushi) in African or International grocery stores. Pumpkin seeds can be substituted, as can Pepitas, which are available in Latin American grocery stores. Sesame seeds might also be used with some success.
What you need
- one-half cup palm oil, or peanut oil, or similar
- one to two pounds beef stew meat, goat meat, mutton, or any stew meat, cubed
- one or two Maggi® cubes or Maggi® sauce (optional)
- one onion, chopped
- one hot chile pepper, cleaned and chopped
- two or three tomatoes, chopped
- several okra, chopped (optional)
- one can tomato sauce or one spoonful tomato paste
- one cup dried prawns or dried shrimp, or dried/salted/smoked fish or stockfish
- one to two cups egusi, roasted and ground (pumpkin seeds or pepitas can be substituted)
- one to two pounds spinach; washed and chopped -- or -- bitterleaf, collards, kale, sorrel, turnip greens, or any greens; cleaned, chopped, and parboiled (or a combination of any of the above)
- cayenne pepper or red pepper, to taste
- salt, to taste
What you do
- If it is not already ground, grind or food-process the egusi (or its substitute).
- Heat the oil in a skillet. Fry the meat until browned, but not done. Transfer the meat to a deep pot or dutch oven, cover it with water, add the maggi cube if desired. Bring to a slow boil, then reduce heat and simmer.
- Heat more oil in the same skillet in which meat was cooked; fry together the onion, chile pepper, tomatoes, and okra. Once they start to become tender add the tomato sauce (or tomato paste), dried shrimp or fish, and egusi. Stir well and allow to heat throughly.
- Add the onion-tomato-egusi mixture to the simmering meat. Add water and stir into a smooth soup. Cook for twenty to thirty minutes, or until meat and vegetables are done.
- Stir in greens. Adjust seasoning. Cook until greens are done as you like them.
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