More Than A Recipe Book has gone to print, whoop whoop! We are SUPER excited to see the finished book, in all its printed glory. The team has spent months writing, reading, editing, testing, cooking, tasting and refining the recipes and we are now almost ready to reveal the recipe book to you.
To celebrate, we are sharing the recipe of Maurice, from Biafra: Ofe Egusi with Eba.
Maurice says: “Egusi is the most popular soup in West Africa and is eaten every day. Everyone knows how to cook it. It’s extremely good for you – egusi is made from melon seeds so it’s concentrated nutrients. Then you’ve got protein from the meat and green vegetables – it’s a balanced meal.
"This is my version of the recipe. I’m not sure it’s traditional. My children love it. If they’re refusing to eat, I make them this and they eat it happily. There is a trick to eating the eba – you use it to scoop up the soup and then you swallow the ball and leave the soup in your mouth. The eba fills your belly, but it’s the soup you taste.
"When we had enough money my paternal grandmother would cook egusi soup. But there was another soup we ate, made with cold water and peppercorns, which you only made if you were really poor. Nobody makes it anymore and my grandmother is gone now, but sometimes I wake up and long for it still.
"My grandmother farmed until she was 90 and lived to 101. She built her own house and every year she would give us yam and cassava from her farm.”
· 1kg chicken thighs or drumsticks
· 1tbsp ground coriander
· 1tbsp paprika
· 1tbsp vegetable oil
· Salt, to taste
· 1 bunch of spinach or bitter leaves
· 50g mushrooms
· 1 chicken stock cube
· 2tbsp palm oil
· 200g egusi flour
· 500g gari
1) Mix the chicken with the ground coriander, paprika, vegetable oil and a pinch of salt and put in the fridge for half an hour. Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°Fan/Gas 4. Place the chicken in a roasting tray and cook in the oven for 40 minutes.
2) If using bitter leaves, wash them 20 or 30 times to remove the bitterness. If using spinach, wash throughly. Slice the mushrooms.
3) Dissolve the chicken stock cube in 1.25 litres of boiling water and add to a large pot. Add the bitter leaves (if using), the mushrooms and palm oil and boil gently for 5 to 10 minutes.
4) Add the egusi flour gradually, then stir. Simmer for 10 minutes, then introduce the chicken into the pot.
5) Add the spinach now, if using, and simmer for 5 minutes more.
6) To make the eba: Pour 1 litre of boiling water into a bowl. Gradually add the gari. Pour off any excess water and stir the gari with a wooden spatula. Add more water and stir, until it comes together to form a firm dough.
To eat, form small balls with the eba and use it to scoop up the soup.