The Nigerian Egusi soup, prepared with melon seeds, is native to the southern part of Nigeria – Igbos and Yorubas 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)
Spice grinder for grinding egusi (melon) seeds: Buy it in USA | in UK
Before you cook Egusi Soup
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.
When the fish and stockfish are soft, debone and break them into sizeable chunks.
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.
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.
Wash the beef to be used for the soup, add it to the pot and cook on medium heat till done.
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
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.
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.
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.
Cover the pot and once it gets a good boil, it is done!
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.
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.
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.
Cover and cook till the egusi cakes. Stir and add a little bit more water. watch it closely so that it does not burn.
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.
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.
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.
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.