Egusi (also known by variations including agusi, ohue, agushi) is the name for the protein-rich seeds of certain cucurbitaceous plants (squash, melon, gourd), which after being dried and ground are used as a major ingredient in West African cuisine.
Egusi soup is a kind of soup thickened with the ground seeds and popular in West Africa, with considerable local variation. Besides the seeds, water, and oil, egusi soup typically contains leaf vegetables, palm oil, other vegetables, seasonings, and meat. Leaf vegetables typically used for egusi soup include bitterleaf, pumpkin leaf, celosia and spinach. Typical other vegetables include tomatoes and okra. Typical seasonings include chili peppers, onions, and locust beans. Also commonly used are beef, goat, fish, shrimp, or crayfish.
Pounded yam (Fufu) is a popular African dish similar to mashed potatoes but heavier. Pounded Yam is very smooth and tasty. It is often eaten with vegetable soup. Egusi soup and pounded yam is traditionally eaten both together with hands.
In Nigeria, egusi is common among the people of the southern part of Nigeria, the Yoruba people, Igbo people, Ibibio people and the Efik people and Bahumono of southern Nigeria, the Hausa of northern Nigeria and the Edo people, Esan people, Etsakọ people, Urhobo people and the Itsekiri people of the south-west of Nigeria. Yoruba people in general and quite notably the people of Ọṣun State – especially the Ijesha people – eat "iyan and egusi", a pounded yam and egusi soup. the Ibibio people and the Efik people (Calabar people) of southern Nigeria call it Afere Ikong in their dialect.
In Ghana, egusi is also called akatoa or agushi, and as in Nigeria is used for soup and stew, and most popularly in palaver sauce.
In the late 1980s, the Canadian government funded a project intended to develop a machine to help Cameroonians shell egusi seeds. A machine has been developed in Nigeria to shell egusi.Read more