Agushie(Ga), Akatowa(Twi) in Ghanaian dialects or Egusi (Yoruba), Agushi (Hausa) in Nigerian dialects are seeds from a type of melon / gourd plant indigenous to West Africa. This gourd plant shown in the photo looks like normal water melon but it’s not. This melon has a bitter and dry flesh making only the seeds the delicacy and consumed part of the melon.
The seeds are highly nutritious, rich in fats/oils, protein, vitamins and amino acids. The amino acid content makes it sufficient as vegetable protein. Combined with its caloric content, it provides the essential nutrition for growing bodies. Just 100g of the seeds a day provides essential fatty acids, amino acids and vitamin E requirements.
Akatowa is ground and used in stews and soups. Such as palava sauce. They can also be roasted/ toasted and eaten as a snack or made into a spread like peanut butter. Oil is also extracted from the seeds and used as cooking oil. Oil is also extracted from the kernels but this oil is used for making soaps or for illumination. Blending the seeds with water and honey produces a milky liquid which can be used as formula milk.
Akatowa is so highly nutritious yet we have limited its uses in cooking. Having the knowledge now about this super seed, we can be creative with it and add more of it in our diet.
#melon photo credit : H. Zell via Google.
#information credit: Google