Egusi soup is a Nigerian delicacy that features ground melon or pumpkin seeds as its main ingredient. Other ingredients include meat or seafood, fermented beans, onions, and vegetables. The combination of ingredients makes for a flavorful soup. Thanks to the pumpkin seeds (egusi), this soup has a wonderful nuttiness to it. The rest of the ingredients add salty, savoury, and spicy flavours as well. The hearty soup is most commonly eaten with pounded yam, which is a dough-based dish made of, surprise–pounded yam.
HOW TO MAKE EGUSI SOUP
Egusi soup happens in three main steps.
1: Boil the meats and/or fish you intend to use. Preferably do this the day before so making your egusi soup is easy the next day.
2. Grind the egusi. I advise that you always buy whole egusi seeds and grind them yourself. That way you are sure of the quality of the seeds. Pre-ground egusi is not always the best.
3. Saute onions in red palm oil, cook egusi in red palm oil then add the boiled meats, crayfish and seasoning. It is really that easy!
- 2 cups egusi (not ground)
- ¾ cup palm oil
- ¼ cup crayfish
- 1 shrimp seasoning cube also known as Maggi Crayfish or Maggi Crevette
- 2 pounds portions of meat and fish I used a variety of goat meat, stock fish and chicken
- ½ cup onion – chopped
- 1 habanero (or scotch bonnet) pepper
- ½ -1 cup chopped greens (you could use the bitter leaf for an authentic taste or substitute with spinach or kale) I used chopped spinach
- Boil the meats and fish. Preferably do this the day before so that cooking is easier the next day. Start by boiling the tougher meats then add the less tough ones. Add salt halfway through the cooking process (about a teaspoon of salt). Reserve the stock of the meat. Also, if using stockfish, be sure to soak it for some hours first and rinse thoroughly before cooking (cook it separately from the other meats/fish and discard the stock). Stockfish has a very pungent smell so if you aren’t used to it you might be shocked at how much it smells. But the taste is amazing in Egusi Soup!
- Grind the egusi. Grind the egusi using the small cup of a blender, coffee grinder or whatever grinding machine you have on hand. Be sure to remove any bad seeds from the egusi before grinding.
Making the egusi soup
- Place palm oil in a pot and heat up on high for about 3 minutes (do not bleach). Add the onions to the palm oil and saute until fragrant.
- Add the ground egusi to the palm oil and let it cook in it, while you stir from time to time until the egusi shrinks and starts sticking to the bottom of the pot. About 7 minutes.
- Add a teaspoon of crayfish and stir then add the cooked meats and their stock. Add the remaining crayfish, crayfish seasoning cube, habanero or scotch bonnet pepper then add water if needed according to desired thickness. Stir well and taste to ensure that the seasoning is perfect. Let all the ingredients simmer together for about 5 minutes.
- Add the greens and let them cook for about 2 minutes. Turn off the heat – your egusi soup is ready!