Egusi soup is one of the most popular Nigerian soups. Egusi aka Egwusi soup is an exotic soup that is cooked, in various parts of West Africa and goes under different names.
It is known as Miyan Gushi in Hausa, Ofe Egusi in Igbo and Efo Elegusi in Yoruba. In Cameroon, it is sometimes used to make Egusi pudding; a highly addictive pudding.
The main ingredient in preparing Nigerian Egusi soup is melon seeds, which also serves as a thickener.
The melon seeds are a rich source of proteins, vitamins, omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, magnesium, zinc, copper, potassium and more.
However, these seeds are high in calories, so you need to be mindful of your portions. One cup of ground melon seeds contains roughly 600 calories.
Melon soup is one of your best bets if you are looking for a delectable dish. Eaten by all tribes and loved by foreigners too.
Egusi is a wild member of the gourd family, with very dry skin and bitter flesh. Egusi or melon seed looks the same as watermelon seeds but tastes quite differently.
Egusi seed is also used to cook vegetables or added to ogbono and okra soup.
Each household in Nigeria, have their way of making African melon soup more appealing.
How to Prepare Egusi Soup
You can prepare egusi soup using the following methods:
- With lumps
- Boiling Method
- Frying Method
- Caked Egusi soup
- With/without vegetables
- With garlic
The cooking methods are simply a matter of preference. All that matters is getting it right.
Also, make sure that the ground egusi seeds are properly cooked/fried, to get the raw taste out.
Egusi Soup Recipe – How to Prepare Lump Egusi Recipe
This is a method where you mold the ground egusi into balls and cook with the soup such that you will be eating the egusi balls like meat while enjoying the meal.
To cook egusi soup with lumps, you need the following Ingredients:
- ½ cup blended onions about 1- 2 and fresh chilies, to taste
- 4 cups Egusi melon seeds, ground or milled
- ½ cup palm oil
- 1 teaspoon of fresh ogiri or dawadawa or okpei or Iru (locust beans)
- Ground Usu (very optional)
- Salt to taste
- Ground crayfish to taste
- Seasoning cubes
- Cooked meat – goat, beef, fish, chicken (optional) or shellfish. Quantity and variety depends on personal preference
- 2 cups cut pumpkin leaves
- 1 cup water leaf cut
- 3 tablespoons bitter leaf washed
How to Prepare the Egusi Paste
Firstly, blend Egusi seeds, Usu, fresh pepper, and onions. Then, add little warm water and salt.
After that, mix thoroughly until you have a firmer doughy like consistency. Shape into teaspoon ball sizes and put aside
Wash Your Bitter Leaf
Make sure that you wash the bitter leaf (onugbu) very well so that the bitterness will not spoil your soup. Please watch: (VIDEO) How To Prepare Bitter Leaf Soup The Eastern Way
However, it is best to remove over 95 percent of the bitter taste before using it to cook.
If you buy the already-washed bitter leaf from the market, it is best to boil for about ten minutes before using, as this would further remove the bitter taste.
Make the Soup
- Firstly, add palm oil in a medium-sized pot, warm on low heat for a minute and then add the locust beans.
- Secondly, add the stock and set on low heat to simmer.
- Thirdly, put the balls of the Egusi paste mixture into the stock. Make sure to keep the ball shape in one piece.
- Do not stir in the mixture, just cover the pot and allow simmering for 20 – 30 minutes so the balls will cook very well.
- Then, add the meat and fish or any other protein of choice.
- After that, add the shredded pumpkin leaves and water-leaf.
- Gently mix well and put the lid on and allow cooking for 2-3 minutes.
- Finally, add the bitter leaf, remove the lid and cook for another 5 minutes. Stir very well and adjust for seasoning.
You can serve Egusi is traditionally with a starch. Possible starch options include Iyan (Pounded yam), Garri (fermented cassava), elubo (fermented yam) or semolina.
Equally important are the vegetables you use in the preparation of egusi soup. It goes a long way in defining the taste of the soup.
Great choices are ewuro (bitter leaf), Gbure (water-leaf), amunututu (malabar spinach), uziza, tete (calallo), spinach, ugu (fluted pumpkin leaf), and kale, collard and or scent leaf (efirin).
Yoruba style egusi contains iru and is prepared with a stew or sauce base (sans tomatoes), best for parties.
The major factor that differentiates Yoruba style egusi soup from other Nigerian egusi soups is the presence of lumps/clumps. Egusi is just as finger-licking as meat in this lumpy form.