Egusi soup is one tasty delicacy that is made of melon seeds, palm oil, and crayfish. It has a nutty and savory flavor.
What is Egusi Soup?
Egusi soup is a staple in West African cuisine. It has various ways of cooking, and the ingredients differ based on individual preference. This dish is very common in Nigeria and Cameroon. It is made from blended melon seeds, simmered in tomato and pepper sauce with chopped greens and proteins. Can be served with many sides like pounded yam, garri, semolina, amala, fufu corn, water fufu, and even rice. Rice is one of my favorites to go with egusi soup.
- Melon Seeds: This is one of the key ingredients. Can get it whole or ground from the market, or an African grocery store. If whole, blend or ground till smooth.
- Palm Oil: Adds flavor to this delicacy. I have never used vegetable oil, but note, it will alter the taste. Egusi soup is just perfect with palm oil.
- Proteins: In this recipe, I used smoked fish, beef, tripe, and cow skin. Use any proteins of your choice, but ensure it’s cooked till tender.
- Crayfish: Adds taste and flavor to the soup.
- Greens: I used spinach, which can be substituted with uziza leaves, bitter leaves, fluted pumpkin leaves(okongobong leaves), collard greens, or any preferred greens.
- Stock or broth: This is added depending on how thick you want it. It adds up taste too.
- Pepper mix: I always add tomatoes to my pepper mix and it’s the best thing I ever did to my egusi soup. Feel free to skip it.
- If you don’t like palm oil too much oil, mix it with little vegetable oil. But vegetable oil shouldn’t be more than palm oil.
Egusi soup is so easy to make but these tips might help:
- The melon seeds have to be finely ground or smoothly blended. If you want a lumpy soup, don’t over-stir or stir carefully so that lumps can form.
- When blending the melon seeds, use the stock or broth. This is to ensure enough stock in the soup. If not enough broth, use water. Water or broth just helps the blade of the blender move easily and do not use too much of it. If using a dry grinder, no liquid is needed.
- Do not overheat the palm oil like it will be bleached. Bleached palm oil won’t give egusi soup the color and taste needed.
How to preserve Egusi Soup?
Best eaten when hot, but leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 days, and in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator, and reheat in the microwave or in a pot on low heat.
What can I eat Egusi soup with:
- Fufu (any type of fufu)
- Any side based on preference.
- 2 Cups Egusi Melon seeds
- ½ Onion chopped
- ⅓ Cup Crayfish
- 2 Red bell Peppers Large
- 3 Large tomatoes
- 1 tsp Salt
- ½ tsp Whitepepper
- 2 tsp Seasoning powder
- 3 Cups Water
- 1 Cup Palm oil
- 2 Cups Chopped greens used spinach
- 3 Scotch Bonnets optional
To Boil Beef
- 1.5kg Combination of Beef, Smoked Fish, Tripe, Cow Skin or any proteins.
- 1 tsp Salt
- 2 tsp Seasoning powder
- 3 cups Water
- In a pot or pressure cooker, boil cow skin, tripe and beef with salt, seasoning powder and water till tender. Then remove from broth, cut into chunks and set aside.
- Using a processor, roughly process onion, tomatoes and bell peppers. Set aside.
- Add melon seeds in a blender with some water or broth and blend till completely smooth. Set aside
- In a hot pot on medium heat, add palm oil let it heat for 10 seconds, then add onion mix and let it cook for about 10 minutes till oil floats.
- Add salt, seasoning powder, whitepepper and crayfish. Stir to combine.
- Then add the blended egusi, then stir till properly mixed. Cover the pot and let it cook for about 15 minutes. Keep stirring from time to time so it doesn't burn. NOTE! At this point, you can add broth or water depending on how thick you want it.
- After 15 minutes, add chopped greens, smoked fish, boiled proteins and stir till combined. Cook again for another 5 minutes.
- Taste to adjust any seasonings, then serve hot with side of choice.