Egusi soup is enjoyed in many parts of Nigeria, and like okro soup is a popular favorite. Egusi seeds are obtained form the West African melon, dried and ground for use as a thickener in the soup. Dried crayfish, dried stockfish, bitter leaf, spinach (or ugwu leaves and water leaves) chicken or beef are added to the soup.
Nigerian Egusi Soup
- Wash and chop spinach (if using fresh), onions, tomatoes, bell pepper and tomatoes. Place each item in a separate bowl.
- Mix the ground egus and bitter leaves together in a bowl, add water and mix to get a thick paste. Set the egusi and bitter leaves paste aside.
- Wash stock fish and place into a medium saucepan with about 4 cups of water. Bring the water and stock fish to a boil and cook for about 15 minutes.
- Wash beef stew meat or cow tail and add to the stock fish. Also add the bouillon cubes, pepper flakes, dried crayfish, smoked crayfish and the chopped vegetables except the spinach.
- Cook ingredients for about 10 minutes, stirring every few minutes.
- Note: the onion, tomatoes and pepper can be blended in a blender before adding to the meat.
- Add palm oil and cook for about 10 minutes. Stir the pot every few minutes.
- With continuous stirring add the egusi paste to the pot. Stir frequently to prevent the egusi from burning and sticking to the bottom of the pot. If using tomato sauce, add the sauce, continue to boil the soup while stirring frequently. If the soup is too thick add a little bit of water and continue to cook and stir. Egusi soup should be thick and not watery.
- Taste the soup for desired salt and pepper flavor.
- Add chopped spinach or Ugwu and cook for about 10 minutes more.
- Reduce the heat and simmer for 2-3 minutes.
- Turn off the stove and let the soup sit for a few minutes before serving.
- Place soup in a large serving bowl.
Serve egusi soup and pounded yam followed by the tropical fruit salad after the meal.