Egusi Ijebu is a type of Egusi soup recipe which originates from the Ijebu ode which is in the southwestern part of Nigeria in Ogun state. This soup is actually one of a kind. Unlike the popular Egusi soup, Egusi Ijebu is usually made with no spinach or leafy greens.
Let’s talk a little about Egusi melon seed which is also known as Agusi or Agushi- These seeds are the chief ingredient in making Egusi soup. They belong to the melon, squash, and Gourds family, and they are rich in fats and Protein.
Egusi Soup is mainly eaten in West Africa and it also is known as Agusi or Agushi in some parts of Africa. It has a considerable variation in its mode of preparation depending on each individual’s geographical location. For example, in Cameroon, cabbage leaves are sometimes added but in Nigeria, Egusi soup is often cooked with spinach or any leafy green.
One of the most important steps in making this delicious Nigerian soup is to toast the Egusi seeds. During the toasting process, the seeds will make popping sounds like the ones you will get when making popcorn and you will know that the seeds are done when the seeds are lightly browned on the outside. By this time your kitchen will be filled with the pleasant smell of freshly toasted seeds.
You may be wondering what can be done if you don’t have all the listed traditional spices and condiments? You can still make a delicious Nigerian soup by substituting the Egusi seeds with pumpkin seeds. You can skip the locust bean and Ogiri and replace the dried prawns with Smoked Fish. At this point you are making a simple but delicious Egusi soup or “Pumpkin seed soup” and not the Ijebu style. That sounds good, right?
- The consistency of Egusi Ijebu is usually not thick but not watery at the same time so try to find a balance.
- If you live outside Nigeria you can source for Ogiri at the African stores but if you are unable to find it, you can replace with seasoning cube.
- If you are finding it hard to get the Egusi seeds, you can substitute for pumpkin seeds.
- Any combination of crab, shrimp, and smoked fish can be used in place of the shrimp.
- Smoked oysters, Turkey or chicken can be used in place of the beef.”
Here is the link to the Sauce I used in the recipe.
Watch the video below to see a demonstration of how I made my Egusi Ijebu.
Egusi Soup – How to make Egusi Ijebu
- 1 Cup Egusi Melon
- 1/4 Cup Palm Oil
- 2 Cups Beef stock or as needed
- 3/4 Cup sauce
- 1 Onion medium sized
- 1 Tablespoon Ogiri or a small chunk
- 1 Tablespoon Iru Locust bean
- Salt to taste
- 1 Tablespoon Crayfish
- Prawns as desired
- Meat or Fish of choice
- Toast the Egusi melon in a hot pan on a medium to high heat until it begins to brown and pop but don’t get it burnt. You will literarily perceive the ‘Nutty Aroma’ of the toasted melon once it’s done. Remove it from heat and allow it to cool down.
- Blend the Egusi together with the Onion and about a Cup of stock then set it aside.
- Place the Palm Oil on the stove top, add the locust bean and stir-fry for a couple of seconds so that the bean will release its flavor into the Oil.
- Add the sauce (see the link to the sauce above) and dissolve the Ogiri in the Sauce, then add some beef stock, Crayfish and the Prawns stir this together.
- Turn the heat down to low, then add the blended Egusi and continue to stir so that the Egusi will not become lumpy (you can add stock or Water if there is a need for it). When the stew is smooth and lump free, you can now cover it up and increase the heat then allow it to cook for about 10 minutes or thereabout.
- Add Salt to taste and add the Beef as well and leave to cook for about 6 to 8 minutes or till you achieve your desired consistency.
- Serve with your favorite swallow, Rice, Yam…Enjoy!