Egusi soup is an exotic hearty food that will satisfy your taste buds. It is a staple in most West African home and it is an uncomplicated one pot meal that is often accompanied with swallows like Eba, Amala, Semovita, Pounded yam, Fufu, and the likes. Some hardcore like I am will even serve over Rice.
I have made one Egusi recipe before and ever since I made that version of Egusi soup, I’ve gotten a lot of requests to make another version of the recipe. So that is why I made this easy version of the Nigerian Egusi soup.
The first thing I like to do when making my Egusi soup is to blend the peppers. While blending the peppers try to use a little water as possible so that the blended pepper will not turn out too watery. Note that, if your blended pepper turns out too watery it will prolong the cooking time of the sauce.
The next thing I do is to blend the Egusi seeds, Crayfish and Onions together. I also use a little bit of water for this because it’s important for the Egusi to have a thick consistency. This will allow the resulting Egusi soup to be curdled and not scattered.
Also, I am not a fan of overheating palm oil. The term we usually refer to as ”bleaching” except in some recipes that the bleaching process cannot be avoided like the ayamase stew which is also known as the Ofada stew.
I added locust bean to my recipe hence, I skipped the addition of seasoning cubes. However, if you don’t like locust bean or you don’t have it handy, the stock will be sufficient to enhance the taste or simply use the seasoning cubes to your taste.
I also like to divide my locust bean into two parts. I add the first half while frying the Onions so that the flavor of the bean can get released inside the Oil. This process takes about 3 minutes.
Add the blended peppers and fry until it’s well cooked about 10 to 15 to 20 minutes, then add the Egusi melon. It is very important not to stir the Egusi at this point, give it time to curdle. Once it’s curdled about 15 to 20 minutes, stir it briefly then add some chicken or beef stock with the Meat or Fish of your choice and leave to cook again for another 15 minutes.
The Egusi should be cooked at this point but if you feel there is a need to cook a little longer, just add some more stock or water and cook for few more minutes.
Note: I usually leave my Egusi to cook for at least 40 minutes, a longer cooking time is okay but not lesser.
Note: The typical ingredients used for Egusi soup are peppers, Onions, Locust bean and crayfish and we also like to add either beef, Goat meat or dry fish. Occasionally Chicken and Turkey are used.
Once, the Egusi is well cooked, stir in the spinach. Adjust the seasoning if necessary and voila your Egusi soup is ready!. Serve with your choice of swallow like Eba, Amala, Semovita, Pounded yam, Fufu, and like I said earlier if you are an hardcore like I am you can serve over Rice.
A common question I usually get asked is this: Is it okay to use Tomatoes for making Egusi soup or Efo riro? The answer is yes, you can definitely use Tomatoes if you choose to.
I know Egusi is called by different names such as Agusi or Agushi depending on where you come from. Let me know what you call Egusi in your tribe/dialect?
- 2 Cups Melon
- 1 Cup Palm Oil or a little more or less depending on preference
- 4 Tbsp Crayfish
- 3 Tbsp locust beans
- 24 oz chopped spinach
- 1 Red Bell Pepper
- 1 Habanero Pepper
- 1 Fresno Pepper
- 2 Onions
- Stock Cube Optional
- Beef, Tripe, Dry Fish, Cow Leg
- Salt To Taste
- 3 cups Beef stock Chicken stock works just as well
Blend the peppers and Onions together until smooth and set aside.
Blend the Egusi melon, half of the second Onion, and Crayfish together. Set aside as well.
Heat the Palm Oil in a pan and allow it melt over a medium heat but don't overheat the Oil. Add the remaining half onion (diced) and half of the Locust bean. Let it cook for about 3 minutes on a medium heat.
Add the blended pepper and cook till the water is reduced this should take about 15 minutes on a medium heat until the water is reduced stirring about every 5 minutes to prevent burning.
Add the remaining locust bean, Beef stock, and salt to taste. Cover and leave to cook for another 5 minutes
Gently introduce the blended Egusi inside the sauce but don't stir it at this point. Just cover it and leave it to cook for about 20 to 30 minutes Keep an eye on it so it doesn't burn but try not to stir it until the Egusi turns into a soft compact mass. Then, gently stir together and add more stock or water if necessary.
Add the Fish and meat and leave to cook again for another 5 minutes.
Stir in the Spinach and leave to simmer for about 5 minutes (stir constantly). Adjust the seasoning if necessary.
Serve while still hot.
Watch a detailed Egusi soup video below
If you make this Egusi soup recipe, I’d love to see pictures of your creations on Instagram and Facebook. #cheflolaskitchen