Friday, September 14, 2007

Name: Egusi Balls

Well, My Yoruba family out there will recall (if faintly for some) that, to make Egusi soup with Egusi balls, all we had to do instead of pouring the Egusi powder straight, was add small spoonfuls of blended pepper (raw omatoes and ata rodo, sometimes with Tatase)to the powder in a small flat plate, and begin mixing until the whole thing was sticky and gumming together (not an apt description but it will have to do!). Imagine my surprise when I was going through old editions of Life ( a free publication from the Guardian, August 26 - September 1, 2007
edition), when I saw that there was more to it according to our sisters from the South Eastern Nigeria!

According to Lydia E. Eke, in South Eastern Nigeria, the Egusi is prepared thus:

3 cups of Egusi (ground)
Meat and Ponmo
5 small blls of usu (ground) [we'll get to this later, don't worry]
Maggi and Salt.

Step 1: Blend the Egusi dry until very smooth.Transfer it to a mortar and pound it with the usu [the usu is a whitish stone - like thickener - that's what she said anyway, so be sure its edible].

Step 2: Now put the pounded Egusi into a plate/tray, and start to mould it into small balls. To make the balls tasty, add salt, dry ground pepper and water.

Step 3: Either cook the balls directly in the pot of soup, or dry it in the heating sun (not to be tried in Europe, UK or the US so you don't get arrested it your neighbor's cat decides to taste it from your windowsill and chokes on the pepper)

Step 4: Cook the soup as you would the normal Egusi soup (Check older posts for this recipe). Add the balls when the soup is ready, and let the balls in turn, cook for a while in the soup.

Step 5: The Egusi soup is ready!

Note that the sun - dried ones can be eaten as snacks later (that is a new one!), so you might consider it if you live in Sunny Carlifornia and your fence is high.

Serving: Can be eaten with Eba/Garri, Amala, Fufu, Pounded yam, Semo, Lafun.

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