By Funmilola Alao
Someone recently asked me what local food I love the most. I didn’t hesitate to say Amala and egusi. It’s not just that well-cooked Amala and Egusi tastes so delicious it could make you bite your tongue over and over, especially when fortified with assorted dried fish and ponmo. That aside, the sight of red palm oil swelling around the edges of the egusi soup brings to your mind a sense of richness and equanimity.
For our non-Yoruba readers, here’s a bit of an introduction:
Àmàlà is a local Nigerian food, native to the Yoruba ethnic group in the western states of the country. It is made out of yam and/or cassava flour, or unripe plantain flour. Yams are peeled, sliced, cleaned, dried and then blended into a flour, also called elubo . Yams are white in colour but turn brown when dried. This gives àmàlà its colour. Àmàlà is from Western Africa and eaten mostly by the Yoruba people in Nigeria. Amala is mainly consumed by indigenous people of the Southwestern part of Nigeria. It could be served with a variety of ọbẹ (soups), such as ẹfọ, ilá, ewédú , ogbono or gbegiri (black-eyed beans soup).
There are three different types of àmàlà, which are: àmàlà isu ,àmàlà láfún and “amala ogede”.
Àmàlà can be eaten with various soups which egusi soup is one of them. Egusi soup is made of thickened melon seeds and leaf vegetables. It is a kind of soup thickened with the ground seeds and popular in West Africa, with considerable local variation. It has vitamins B1 and B2 which are important for body growth and the production of red blood cells. Vitamin C, which helps the body absorb iron and maintain healthy tissue, is also found in the seeds.
Besides the seeds, water, and oil, egusi soup typically contains leaf vegetables, Palm oil, other vegetables, seasonings, and meat. Egusi soup is an exotic hearty food that will satisfy your taste buds which goes well with Amala.
See below the different pictures of serving Amala and egusi soup: