Egusi Soup for the Soul
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Homesick Nigerians are making a beeline for the A and G Afro Shop in Delhi for the flavours of home
A tiny shop, A and G Afro Shop, tucked inside the alleys of PVR Anupam-4 Shopping Complex, has become a comfort zone for homesick Nigerians in Delhi. It stocks the ingredients of Nigerian cuisine, from tins of indigenous condensed milk (very different from the Indian variety) to packets of Ogbono seeds, achi powder and bitterleaf. The last three are used to make different kinds of soups. "The seeds are ground into powder and boiled in water," says Bright I-Akuma, who runs the shop with his elder brother Jeffrey O Akuma. For those who want their food cooked and served, the shop also has a restaurant arm where the menu boasts of several home-made delicacies.
The 10,000-strong Nigerian population in Delhi have given the shop a thumbs-up since it opened after the Commonwealth Games. "They were craving for an eatery which offered dishes from back home. We thought of importing these items," adds Bright.
Besides being the CEO here, Jeffrey is also an executive chef by training, a skill that came in handy while designing the restaurant menu. The minimalist interiors have space for only two glass tables and a small refrigerator. A homely breakfast comprises dishes like Ogbono soup and Moi-Moi , made from dried beans, while the lunch and dinner spreads include coconut rice with corn and fried egg, besides soup. Around 40 clients visit the shop daily, but the prices are a little discomforting, at Rs 300 a dish. Blame this, however, on the steep shop rents in the area. Also, there are no desserts. "Nigerians prefer cut fruits," says Bright.
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