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 Maggi or Knorr cubes
• Traditional Seasoning – 1 Okpei (optional) Tools
• Deep Pot
• Spice grinder for grinding egusi (melon) seeds
• Chopping board
1. Before preparing the soup, soak the dry fish for about half an hour. Boil the stockfish for 20 minutes and leave in the pot with the hot water to soak for about an hour.
2. 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.
3. Boil the shaki, stock fish and dry fish in 1 litre of water till they are well done. First sign of a done shaki is that the cuts will start curling on itself.
4. Wash the beef to be used for the soup and place in a pot and start steaming at medium heat. There is no need to add water at this stage. When the meat is done, add 3 cubes of Maggi/Knorr. 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 at 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 turning 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 to 45 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. 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 leave everything to steam together for 5 minutes. 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 and place in a different pot or plate.
2. Add the ground egusi to the stock and cook for 40 minutes. You will notice the clear egusi oil coming to the surface of the soup.
3. Add 2 cooking spoons of red palm oil, the meat, fish, bitter leaves (if it is your choice of vegetable) pepper and salt to taste and cook for another 10 minutes. Now, add the pumpkin leaves if is your choice of vegetables, stir the soup and turn off the heat.
The egusi soup is ready to be served with amala, Eba (garri), pounded yam or cassava fufu.