Understanding Nigerian Spices - Ehuru

Shelled Ehuru - African Nutmeg
Ehuru, also known as African nutmeg, Calabash nutmeg or Jamaican nutmeg, is a seed used as a spice for its fragrant / aromatic properties. In traditional Nigerian cooking (particularly with the Yoruba and Igbo people of Nigeria), it is added to soups or stews and also used in traditional medicine concoctions.

Ehuru ( botanical: monodora myristica) is the dried seeds of a tropical tree of the same genius with the mace nutmeg. This tree grows naturally in West Africa but also known to be cultivated in other parts of the world where the dried seeds are used as a cheap alternative to nutmeg. The seeds are the most valuable parts of the tree though its fruits and bark are also known to be useful.

Uses:
Ehuru comes in a hard woody case which is preferred removed to reveal the hard seed. This seed is ground or grated and added to traditional soups & stews (such as banga, ogbonna soup or pepper soup) Its also been used in baking. Ehuru is used for its highly fragrant/aromatic properties. The seeds contain some essential oils which are responsible for its aroma and fragrance. Ehuru is also used in traditional West African medicine.

How I use Ehuru
I prefer to buy whole seeds and then grate or grind before using. This way, I am able to derive the maximum strength of the essential oils and other nutrients. Whenever I crave the real authentic flavours in my soups, I add a teaspoon or two to my traditional soups.

Advice: A little quantity of this spice is usually enough so that the fragrance does not over power other flavours of your food. Bear in mind to add just enough to complement other flavours rather than over power them. Measure and add in teaspoons. The longer it is left to infuse, the stronger the flavours/aroma develop.

Read more about Nigerian spices here...


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