Wednesday, January 25

KFB Foodie Talk: How to make Egusi Pepper Soup - Seafood Version

For our newbies, the KFB foodie talk column - handled by Dobby of Dobbysignature -  is basically for ladies and 'guys' that are interested in learning how to cook better  ;).
Light soups are very common in the riverine areas and one of a very vast number of such is this unique soup. Egusi pepper soup locally known as "Ovwowor ikpogiri" or Iribo eralie ikpogiri is a tasty local delicacy from delta state and is especially popular among the Urhobos. It's simply light egusi soup made with a blend of local spices used in preparing peppersoup.It has a runny consistency with bits of egusi here and there but also a peppersoup like flavor due to the spices used hence the name egusi peppersoup. Although meat could be used in preparing this dish, i decided to make use of a combination of seafood instead. If you've got the opportunity to taste this delicacy you're going to be stuck big time. Do try it out and let me know how it goes. 

800g Seafood (I used fresh/dried prawn, tilapia, mackerel (titus) & crab)
1 medium sized dried/ smoked fish
1 medium sized onion
2 medium sized fresh red pepper (ata rodo)
2 tbsp. ground chili pepper
1 cup ground egusi (Melon Seeds)
1 tbsp. Pepper soup seasoning (already mixed) 
(Simply make your own seasoning by blending together 3 Uda pods, 1 tsp. Uziza seeds "3 Ehuru/Ariwo/Iwo seeds" ( Check step 2 for procedure)
A handful fresh scent leaves - chopped
3 tbsp. Ground crayfish
4 Seasoning cubes
Salt to taste

Step 1: To prepare the pepper soup seasoning that is if you don't have any available. I love using a combination of Uda UwentiaUziza seeds "Ehuru/Ariwo/Iwo" to make mine. The ehuru gives it a very nice flavor and aroma so to prepare it, place it on an empty pan and roast till you begin to perceive the aroma. Remove from the pan and peel the outer shell covering and blend with the uziza seeds. Remove the seeds from the uda, pound the pod and crush - set aside. 
The first step is to steam the fresh fish. Since i'd be using tilapia and mackerel which could easily scatter in the soup if left for a long period of time, the whole idea is to steam both a little for about 10 minutes in order to get a little stock liquid. Here's what to do...

Step 2: Place the rinsed fish in a medium sized pot. Blend the onion with about a cup of water and add the blend into the fish pot with a little salt. Let it cook for about 10 minutes. Transfer the fish into a different bowl leaving the stock in the pot. 

Step 3: To prepare the egusi, place the ground egusi in a bowl, add a little water and stir to mix - set this aside. 

Step 4: Add the prawn, dried fish, crab, smoked/dried fish, crushed seasoning, ground chili pepper and leave to simmer for about 5 minutes then add about 4-5 cups of water into the pot.

Step 5: Add the pepper soup spice blend, ground crayfish, fresh pepper. Once it starts to boil, add the ground/blended egusi paste into the pot stir quickly so it doesn't form lumps and cover. It's going to thicken a little but it should have a runny consistency like Banga soup. 

Step 6: Add the Scent leaf and leave to simmer for about 3 minutes. Turn off the burner and serve with your favorite "swallow"

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