In West Africa, the name Egusi is applied to members of the gourd family having seeds of high oil content. Egusi Melon plants closely resemble watermelon plants; both have a non climbing creeping habit and deeply cut lobed leaves. The pulp of the watermelon fruit, however, is sweet and edible while the Egusi Melon has bitter and inedible fruit pulp. Egusi Melon seeds are larger than watermelon seeds, and they are light colored. Egusi Melon is cultivated in portions of West Africa, especially in Western Nigeria, for the food in the seed and as a crop interplanted with maize, cassava, or other crops.
Rice with sauce - 1
- Remove egusi shell; grind in meat grinder (blender) into very small pieces. Add water to make a paste.
- Add to a sauce or gravy (in the Congo the sauce consists of palm oil, water, onions, tomatoes and salt) with a dried meat. (Many people insist it is best with fish.) Simmer for 10 minutes until sauce is thick.
- Pour over rice
Rice with sauce - 2
- Remove shells; grind into small pieces. Add salt.
- Make a firm paste by adding water. Form into small balls. Drop into boiling water and remove when done.
- Add to meat and gravy sauce.
- Pour over rice
Pizza congoese with egusi and black-eyed peas
Pizza crust made with standard recipe
crushed cooked beans
Egusi sauce (below)
Cook chopped tomatoes with seasonings to make sauce. Spread over pizza crust. Add beans and other toppings. Top with egusi sauce.
Egusi sauce: Heat a little water and oil. Add pounded egusi. Stir until thickened like Ricotta cheese.
Put a tiny bit of butter in when stirring in a thick pan over heat. Sprinkle with salt. Makes a delicious snack which can be added to granola, sprinkled on cakes, or similarly used.
(Ruth Welch, a missionary to what was then Zaire, gave the above recipes to ECHO. The pizza recipe she attributes to Denise Herbol.)
Prepare beef cubes (l/2 to l lb.) in water (2-4 cups) with garlic (1-2 cloves) and onion (l medium diced) until tender. Let cool.
Peel 3-4 cups dried egusi. Grind finely three times through grinder (or blender).
Mix egusi with broth until it is a little thicker then cake batter (about like brownie mix). Add meat and mix in well. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Put 1/4 to 1/2 cup of mixture on narrower end of banana leaf.
Preparing Banana leaf for Egusi Pudding. Remove leaves from center stem of a mature banana (or plantain leaf). Keep stem. cut leaves into pieces about 10-12 inches wide. Soften pieces over burner of stove (heat them through being careful not to burn them - their color changes and you can see them soften as they pass over the heat).
Begin to roll. When pudding is partially rolled fold end in toward center (envelope roll like egg roll).
Cut stem into pieces and lay in bottom of pot or pressure cooker. Lay rolls of egusi pudding on stem pieces (with loose edge down).
Make alternating layers till pot is full. Add water to top of stems. Put top on and steam over fire 1 hour or 20 minutes at 15# psi in pressure cooker. Cool, peel, slice, and serve warm or cold.
Mrs. James G. (Karen) Smith gave this recipe to ECHO. She and her husband served as missionaries to Africa for many years.)