I love the diversity of melon when it comes to cooking. Today, we will be talking about Igbagba Ikpogiri which the English will call Egusi (melon) pepper soup. It is the main course and it is served with Usin, Eba or Egun-obobo depending on the individual eating the food.
Every Itsekiri person might have a version of how they cook this food, but our local spices remain the same. It will interest you to know that our Itsekiri spices form the core part of our foods.
The spices required for this soup includes: Iwo, Atariko, Ighereje, Egidije, Omilo, Igbafilo, Iyanghanyanghan, Orugbo (gbugbe), Ogolo-gbigbe, Ikpogiri, Beletientien, Uwangue.
Ingredients: Itomatosi (tomatoes), Eja-gbigbe were mimi (dried/smoked/fresh fish), Ide-imefun (crayfish), Ikpa gbigbe were mimi (shrimps, dried or fresh), Ide-saghoro gbigbe were mimi (Lobsters, dried or fresh), Eran, egbele, esin (beef, chicken or pork), Eran oko gbigbe were mimi (bushmeat, dried or fresh).
Some rich families combine a few of the ingredients but the options are always use dried or fresh.
Roast the melon, iwo and egidije in a frying pan or pot to be slightly brown in colour. Grind all the spices including the roasted melon. Put them inside the pot containing water on the fire. Add the quantity of fish and meat etc. If you are using dried fish, use dried crayfish. When using fresh fish, you add a small quantity of dried bitter leaf. Add salt to taste. Allow the soap to boil for about 30 minutes.
Serve with prepared starch (Usin) or starch blended with ripe plantain (Egun-obobo).
Do you have a different delicious version to Igbagba Ikpogiri, please share in the comment section.
Until next Thursday, eat healthily!