Crain Crain Soup: A Way to Utilize the Jew’s Mallow ‘Ewedu’



A way to utilize the Jew’s Mallow ‘Ewedu’ is to make the Crain Crain soup. This is a soup eaten by the people of Sierra Leone. I had a conversation with someone who was from the Republic of Benin and she told me how they consume Ewedu. The description was very similar to the Crain Crain soup of Sierra Leone.

The juice of the pulp of fresh palm kernels was extracted and simmered in a pot, while fresh pepper mix- tomatoes, pimento pepper, onions – was added to it. Some little quantities of smoked cod (Panla), periwinkles, dried shrimps and Atlantic Mackerel were also added to the simmering pot of palm kernel juice. Seasonings like rosemary, thyme, curry and salt was used to improve flavor and taste.

Ewedu was already washed precooked for three minutes and blended roughly. The rough blend was added to the pot and stirred to blend. The crain crain was ready. One of the reasons for precooking the Ewedu was to eliminate the possibility of it losing its mucilaginous ability (how it can ‘draw’). Traditional Crain crain soup would require the use of Trona (Kaun, Akaun) to maintain its viscosity but since I was avoiding the use of Trona, I had to make sure that the soup still had the same consistency of the traditional Crain Crain Soup. Palm oil can be used in the place of Palm kernel pulp juice.

The taste was not foreign and it felt like eating rich Ewedu. My Toddlers gobbled it up and no adults complained.

Meanwhile, I checked more about the origin of the Jew’s Mallow. I read from blogs and some websites that Mallow is mentioned in the bible (Job 6:6; Job 30:4). A blog mentioned that the vegetable was eaten by Jews and it gave rise to the name Jew’s Mallow. However, I noticed from my search that a different species of Mallow called Bull’s Mallow is popular in Israel. Jew’s Mallow itself is popular in Egypt, Jordan, and Syria and it is eaten with rice. It is important to note that the Jewish people where known to adopt foods from places they settled and there is biblical information that the Jews were in Egypt for a while; those Jews were called Egyptian Jews.

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