Egusi – Preparation and Nutritional Facts
Egusi is what people call the fat- and protein-rich seeds of a particular cucurbitaceous plants. In some part it is called agusi or agushi. The dried and grounded one are used as major ingredients for a popular cuisine mostly eating in West Africa called Egusi Soup. The country that grows this type of seeds are Nigeria, Benin, Togo, Ghana, Cote d’ivoire, Burkina faso, Mali and Cameron. The egusi seeds that comes from all of these countries have a similar characteristics and almost used for the same things like soup.
How to Prepare Egusi Seeds
Egusi seeds are popular in West Africa and use to prepare one of the popular African Soup called Egusi Soup. Egusi soup is a thickened soup made from the ground seeds of melon while some things are added like palm oil, grounded pepper, vegetable and some other ingredient to form a good sense of taste.
There are differences in vegetables that can be use based on choice and locality. Some prefer to use bitterleaf, spinach or ugwuleaf while typical set of people prefer to use other vegetables like tomatoes and okra in egusi soup. The seasoning also varies based on choice. Pepper, onions and locust beans are more popular in use. Beef, goat meat, fish, shrimps or crayfish can be added to make it a special cuisine.
Nutritional Benefits of Egusi Seeds
The nutritional advantage of egusi seeds are numerous and based on research done by Ojieh, G et al (2007) they are as follows:
Good Source of Protein: The protein content of melon seeds is estimated at 23.4% crude protein this make it comparable to other plant that is also rich in protein like soybean, cowpea and pumpkin seeds.
Contain Fat Oil: the fat content in Egusi seeds can be estimated at 45.7 %. We can compare this type of oil content to pumpkin oil content. You might think: This is high fat never again will I taste egusi product!!!
RELAX… Before you decide to stop eating melon seed, you might be amaze to the fact that the fat only comprises 15.9% of Mono-unsaturated omega 9 fatty acids and 62.8% of polyunsaturated omega fatty acids. This type of omega fatty acids is known to be an ‘essential fatty acids’ because it’s an essential fat that human body needs for health functioning but can’t generate by the combination of other food components. So the only way to obtain them is through food or supplements. We can say that this fat is very much essential to the body.
Fibre: The fibre content is melon seed is estimated at 12% which is high when we compared it to other legumes.
It’s Carbohydrate Contents: The carbohydrate Egusi have is quite low when its compared to other leguminous seeds. Egusi has 10.6% while other legume ranges from 20-60% of carbohydrate content. This isn’t a problem because egusi soup is always eaten traditionally with carbohydrate rich food thereby balancing the carbohydrate deficiency.
Essential Amino Acids: the essential amino acid melon seed possess are Arginine, Leucine, Isoleucine, Threonine, Valine, Histidine, Methionine and Phenylalaline. Other amino acids are: Tyrosine, proline, glutamic acid, glycine, serine, cysteine and alanine.
Contains Minerals: phosphorus is one of the mineral melon seed is endowed with followed by potassium, magnesium, calcium and sodium. We also have iron, manganese, copper and zinc.
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