Nigerian Egusi Soup Recipe

Why It Will work

  • A combination of beef chuck roast, purple onion, and ground crayfish infuse the inventory with layers of flavor. 
  • Mixing ground egusi seeds and drinking water yields a paste that, when poached in stock, makes a thick, creamy soup with a curd-like texture.

Creamy, nutty egusi soup is a staple in households and bukas, or avenue meals stalls, across Nigeria and in a lot of elements of West Africa. The soup normally takes its name from egusi, or agushi―the seeds that both of those thicken and taste it. Egusi soup normally capabilities meat (these as beef, smoked poultry, goat, cow skin, and offal) and seafood (smoked dried fish or stockfish), as properly as awara (Nigerian tofu), mushrooms, and greens. 

Oil-loaded egusi seeds appear from small, hard inexperienced melons speckled with cream-colored spots or streaks, which helps make them resemble watermelons. Usually referred to as the white-seed melon (cucumeropsis mannii), it’s associated to other cucurbitaceous gourds, melons, and squashes. You could also see it labeled bitter melon (not to be bewildered with the bitter melon common to Asian cooking), a reference to its white flesh, which can be somewhat bitter.

The seeds are to start with extracted from the melon’s flesh then sun-dried till their shells turn mustard yellow. After dried, they are stored as-is, deshelled (either by machine or by hand, a more prized and pricey technique), or floor into a coarse flour.

The seeds have a wide variety of culinary works by using: they can be toasted for a snack ground and pressed to extract a cooking oil blended into nut butter and milled into a flour for baking or thickening soups and stews―I’ve even made a pesto of sorts with it. Mgbam, a textured protein preferred in eastern Nigeria, is produced by combining ground egusi seeds and usu, a mushroom tuber (akin to a truffle but without the need of the powerful taste).

To make egusi soup, I start by making a stock infused with beef, red onion, and floor crayfish. As soon as that’s all set, I blend coarsely ground egusi seeds with chopped pink onion and drinking water to sort a thick, creamy paste, which I dollop into the simmering stock and poach, undisturbed, until eventually the paste congeals. I then give anything a stir to crack up the paste, generating curds. The concluded soup, which can be topped off with a blend of wilted pumpkin and waterleaf greens, eats additional like a stew. You might listen to people today say, “I am feeding on soup” or “I’m licking soup,” when having egusi these popular phrases are a nod to its thicker regularity.

Just take note that my variation is only one of several. Throughout Nigeria, egusi soup differs from location to region and palate to palate. You are going to find dissimilarities in the proteins, seasoning, and greens applied, and, a lot more importantly, in the way the egusi alone is prepared. For occasion, a buddy of mine from the east shared his recipe for a creamier design of egusi in which the floor seeds  are stirred into the stock and cooked, ensuing in an even, creamy regularity he finishes the soup with sensitive herbs that insert levels of freshness and flavor. In contrast, Egusi Ijebu from the southwest of Nigeria is equally creamy but utilizes toasted and ground egusi seeds, has tomatoes in the stock, and omits the greens. 

Egusi soup is usually paired with swallows (tender cooked doughs produced from roots, tubers, veggies, flours, and a lot more) like eba, fufu, and pounded yam (feel mashed potatoes without seasoning, so the sweet pleasant flavors of the yam shine by way of). You can also provide egusi with white rice (typically parboiled extended-grain), dodo (fried plantains), and other starchy preparations, these as boiled yam or plantain, or enjoy it on its individual.