Afrokitchen: Cooking Egusi Soup

Mhen, I love food no be small, I aint denying my love for african dishes too. So this new week, I have a guest, my mum. Yes, she’s a graduate of catering and hotel management from Laspotech and she put me through some egusi stuffs, hehehe.

The Nigerian Egusi soup, prepared with melon seeds, is native to the southern part of Nigeria
Igbos and Yorubas (Yes us yorubas).
Nigerian Egusi Soup Recipe [Video]
Egusi soup is also one of the most popular
soups for all Nigerians and non-Nigerians that
like Nigerian fufu recipes. It is known as Miyan
Gushi in Hausa.
Egusi (Melon) seeds – 3 cigar cups | 600g
Red Palm Oil – 2 cooking spoons
Beef – Best cut and Shaki (cow tripe)
Fish – Dry Fish and Stock Fish
Pepper and Salt to taste
Vegetable – Pumpkin leaves or Bitter leaf
Seasoning – 3 Knorr cubes
Traditional Seasoning – 1 Okpei (optional)
Important tool

Before you cook Egusi Soup
1. Before preparing the soup, soak the dry fish for
about half an hour. If you are using the very
tough stockfish, boil it for 20 minutes and leave
in the pot with the hot water to soak for about
an hour. If using the softer stockfish, you can
just soak them in cool water till you can break
them apart with your hands.
2. When the fish and stockfish are soft, debone
and break them into sizeable chunks.
3. Much closer to your cooking time, grind the
egusi with a dry mill. Grind the crayfish and the
dry pepper separately and set aside. Wash the
vegetable to be used. Cut into tiny pieces.
4. Boil the shaki, stock fish and dry fish in 1 litre of
water with the 3 Knorr cubes till they are well
done. First sign of a done shaki is that the cuts
will start curling on itself.
5. Wash the beef to be used for the soup, add it
to the pot and cook on medium heat till done.
Cooking Directions
There are two main methods of cooking egusi
soup. These we will call oil before egusi and
egusi before oil. Confusing? Not. 🙂
Oil Before Egusi
1. Put 2 cooking spoons of red palm oil into a dry
pot and set on the stove to heat. As soon as
the oil is clearer, add the ground egusi and
start frying. This should be done on low heat to
avoid burning. Keep frying till you see the egusi
getting drier. One sign of this is that it will start
sticking to the bottom of the pot.
2. Now, start adding the shaki/fish stock little by
little while still stirring the egusi. When the stock
is exhausted and you feel that the soup is still
too thick, you can add more water. If your choice
of vegetable is bitterleaf, it should be added
now as well.
3. Cover the pot and cook for 30 minutes. The
egusi is done when you notice that the oil has
risen to the surface of the mix and separated
from the mix. If this is the case, add the fish,
shaki and meat you boiled earlier. Also add
pepper and salt to taste. If pumpkin leaves (or
any other soft vegetable) is your choice, please
add it now.
4. Cover the pot and once it gets a good boil, it is
The egusi soup is ready to be served with
amala, Eba (garri), pounded yam or
cassava fufu.
Egusi Before Oil
This method produces a healthier egusi soup.
This is because there is no frying involved.
1. In this method, as soon as the shaki, fish and
meat are done, remove them from the stock
(water used in cooking the meat and fish) and
place in a different pot or plate.
2. Add the ground egusi to the stock and stir. If
the stock from cooking your meat and fish is not
enough to give you a medium consistency, add
some water to the same level as the egusi.
3. Cover and cook till the egusi cakes. Stir and add
a little bit more water. watch it closely so that
it does not burn.
4. Repeat step 3, adding only a small quantity of
water at a time. After about 25 minutes, you will
notice the clear egusi oil coming to the surface
of the soup.
5. Add 2 cooking spoons of red palm oil and bitter
leaves (if it is your choice of vegetable), pepper
and salt to taste and cook for about 7 minutes.
6. Add the the meat and fish. If using pumpkin
leaves or any other soft vegetable, add it at
this time, stir the soup and leave to simmer for
2 minutes maximum.
7. Turn off the heat. Leave to stand for 2 minutes
before serving.
The egusi soup is ready to be served with Eba
(Garri), Agidi, Amala, Semolina, Tuwo Shinkafa,
Pounded Yam or Cassava Fufu.

Note: Egusi is believed to be a jealous soup, so after cooking, ensure that the cook serves all. If stirred too much, it gets spoilt faster. (No be myth, na fact)