There are much more convenient means of making ẹ̀gúsí soup. The seeds can be bought shelled, and the stew base is a step to complete ahead. I have learned to approach the task with a delicate hand: I stir as little as possible while the soup is cooking because doing so encourages the ground seeds to clump up. With a light touch, this soup rewards you with a riot of flavor and textures.
For ata gígé:
- 2 medium red bell peppers, stemmed and seeded
- 1 medium red onion, roughly chopped
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and chopped
- 1 red Scotch bonnet pepper or 2 tablespoons Trinity Pepper Paste
- 1 cup shelled ègúsí seeds
- Fine salt to taste
- 2 cups Ata Gígé
- 1/4 cup red palm oil
- 1 pound cooked meat or roast mushrooms
- 2 pounds (about 4 cups after squeezing) mature spinach, stemmed, blanched, and squeezed dry
For ata gígé:
- Working in batches if necessary, combine the bell peppers, onion, garlic, ginger, and Scotch bonnet peppers in a food processor or blender and pulse to a coarse puree. Ata gígé can be stored in a sealed container for up to a week in the refrigerator or up to a month in the freezer. Yields 2 cups.
- Puree the ẹ̀gúsí seeds in a blender or food processor with water and a pinch of fine sea salt until a smooth paste is formed. Set aside.
- Add the ata gígé into a large saucepan and heat up gently over medium heat. Allow to come to a simmer, stirring frequently. Reduce the heat to medium low and add your blended ẹ̀gúsí paste in tablespoon-sized clumps. Add the red palm oil. Cover the soup and allow the paste to cook without stirring the stew, about 6 minutes.
- Add the meat or mushrooms and the drained leafy greens, stir, and cook until warmed through. Adjust the seasoning with salt and remove from the heat.
- Serve over steamed rice or any swallows.