Skip to Content

Best Egusi Soup

Egusi is a traditional one-pot soup that combines blended melon seed, pepper, leafy vegetables, and meat. It is nutty, spicy, and tasty.

Egusi soup recipe

Egusi – Same soup, different versions

Even though there are other variations, I still get the same finger-licking result. I have made Egusi ijebu and Lumpy Egusi stew, and this is yet another hit that your taste buds will forever be grateful for. It is safe to say that all methods are easy to cook.

The hype about egusi is worth it because the soup is highly nutritional and super delicious. This version of egusi recipe combines ground melon seed, pepper mix, spinach, beef, crayfish, and other condiments for a delicious outcome. It is on my regular soup menu, and I am bringing it to you because you also deserve this delightful soup.

What exactly is Egusi?

Egusi is a west African staple soup rich in fat, protein, and essential nutrients. It is particularly common in Nigeria because of its delicious match with pounded yam. The melon seed, which is the main ingredient, is derived from the melon plant in the same family as squash and gourds.

It is an exotic hearty food that will satisfy your taste buds. It is a staple in most West African homes, and it is an uncomplicated one-pot meal that is often accompanied by swallows like Fresh garri (Eba), Amala, Semovita, Pounded yam, Fufu, and the likes. Some hardcore like I am will even serve over Rice.

Ingredients for making Delicious Egusi Soup

  • Egusi melon: This is the main ingredient you need to make this soup. You can get the seed or processed one at the local grocery store, Indian or African markets.
  • Palm Oil: used to cook the pepper mix as a base before adding the egusi. it adds a great depth of flavor and color to the soup.
  • Beef, dried fish, and Crayfish: these are my protein sources for a hearty soup. Feel free to add more protein like goat meat, chicken, or turkey.
  • Locust beans: adds an earthy umami taste to the recipe. If you don’t like locust beans, your seasoning cube works well.
  • Spinach: I used spinach in this recipe, but you can use other leafy green vegetables like bitter leaves, uziza leaf, fluted pumpkin leaves (Ugwu), water leaf, and so on.
  • Pepper mix: my blended pepper mix combines red bell pepper, habanero pepper, Fresno pepper, and onions.
  • Onions: You still need to define the soup’s aroma in addition to the onion in the pepper mix.
  • Stock Cube: this is optional but a worthwhile seasoning addition.
  • Salt: Of course, you need salt to taste.
  • Beef stock: this will enhance the flavor. Chicken stock works just as well too.

Simple Guidelines for cooking Egusi

  • Blend the peppers and onions together – The first thing I like to do when making my Egusi soup is to blend the peppers. While blending the peppers, try to use as little water as possible so that the blended pepper will not turn out too watery. Note that, if your blended pepper turns out too watery, it will prolong the cooking time of the sauce.
  • Blend the Egusi melon – The next thing I do is to blend the Egusi seeds, crayfish, and onions together. I also use a little bit of water for this because it’s important for the Egusi to have a thick consistency. This will allow the resulting Egusi soup to be curdled and not scattered.
  • Heat the palm oil but don’t overheat – I am not a fan of overheating palm oil. The term we usually refer to as ”bleaching” except in some recipes that the bleaching process cannot be avoided, like the ayamase stew, which is also known as the Ofada stew.
Egusi soup is very easy to make.

Add onions and locust bean: I added locust bean to my recipe hence, I skipped the addition of seasoning cubes. However, if you don’t like locust beans or you don’t have it handy, the stock will be sufficient to enhance the taste, or simply use the seasoning cubes to your taste.

I also like to divide my locust bean into two parts. I add the first half while frying the Onions so that the flavor of the bean can get released inside the Oil. This process takes about 3 minutes.

This is how to make the Nigerian Egusi soup.
  • Add the blended pepper: Fry until it’s well cooked about 15 to 20 minutes, then add the Egusi melon. It is very important not to stir the Egusi at this point; give it time to curdle. Once it’s curdled for about 15  to 20 minutes, stir it briefly, then add some chicken or beef stock with the Meat or Fish of your choice and leave to cook again for another 15 minutes. The Egusi should be cooked at this point, but if you feel there is a need to cook a little longer, just add some more stock or water and cook for a few more minutes.

Note: I usually leave my Egusi to cook for at least 30 to 40 minutes; longer cooking time is okay but not lesser.

  • Add the remaining locust bean, beef stock, and salt to taste. Cover and leave to cook for another 5 minutes
  • Gently introduce the blended egusi inside the sauce but don’t stir it at this point. Just cover it and leave it to cook for about 20 to 30 minutes. Keep an eye on it, so it doesn’t burn but try not to stir it until the Egusi turns into a soft compact mass. Then, gently stir together and add more stock or water if necessary.
  • Add the fish and meat and cook for another 5 minutes.
  • Stir in the spinach and leave to simmer for about 5 minutes (stir constantly). Adjust the seasoning if necessary.
  • Serve while still hot.

FAQs on Egusi Soup

Can I use vegetable oil or olive oil for this recipe?

Palm oil is the most preferred option for this recipe because it gives color to the soup and adds a unique flavor to it. If you cannot get palm oil, you can still use vegetable oil. But note that this will alter the taste. I do not recommend the use of olive oil for this recipe.

Can I add tomatoes to the pepper mix?

Of course, you can add tomato to the pepper mix for sauce if you like it that way.

How do I store egusi (melon seed)?

Whether the seed is ground or not, it keeps well for months in the freezer. Since melon seeds contain oil, they become rancid easily if not handled properly. You can also store them in an airtight container, but they will not last as long as those kept in the freezer.

What does Egusi soup taste like?

The protein you use contributes a great deal to the taste of this soup. The taste is meaty, and nutty with Africa’s rich and exotic flavor.

Storing and reheating Egusi Soup

You can make the soup ahead and store it for later use. Keep it in an airtight container and store it in the freezer for up to 3 months. If I plan to consume it within a short time, I keep it in the fridge for about 4 days.

When you are ready to eat it, reheat the soup on the stovetop under low heat or in a microwave using a microwave-safe container.

Tips for making delicious egusi soup

  • If you are a vegetarian, you can still eat Egusi soup. Omit the meat and beef broth. You can replace it with vegetable broth.
  • If you are worried about calories from palm oil, you can reduce the quantity you use.
  • Use as many leafy vegetables as you like; there is no limit to the quantity.
  • Blend the pepper with little water. Avoid watery pepper mix because too much water will prolong the cooking time of the sauce.

How to serve delicious Egusi Soup

Traditionally, this soup is served with swallows like fufu, semolina, oatmeal swallow, Amala, pounded yam, garri (eba), and so on. Trust me; this swallow makes a perfect match. However, I enjoy this soup with white rice, rice and beans. It is so hearty and delicious.

Note: The quantity of spinach you add to your egusi depends on how you want it. I love lots of spinach in my egusi, so I added quite more than the regular. You can reduce the quantity if you like.

Other delicious soups and stews you might want to try:

Egusi Soup

Egusi soup is an exotic hearty food that will satisfy your taste buds. It is a staple in most West African home and it is an uncomplicated one pot meal that is often accompanied by swallows like Eba, Amala, Semovita, Pounded yam, Fufu, and the likes. Some hardcore like I am will even serve over Rice.
4.84 from 61 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Soup
Cuisine: African, East Africa
Keyword: egusi soup, homemade
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 8 people
Calories: 457kcal
Author: Lola Osinkolu

Ingredients

  • 2 Cups Egusi melon
  • 1 Cup Palm Oil or a little more or less depending on preference
  • 4 Tbsp Crayfish
  • 3 Tbsp locust beans
  • 24 oz chopped spinach
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper
  • 1 Habanero Pepper
  • 1 Fresno Pepper
  • 2 Onions
  • Stock Cube Optional
  • 1 lb Beef Tripe, Dry Fish, Cow Leg
  • Salt To Taste
  • 3 cups Beef stock Chicken stock works just as well

Instructions

  • Blend the peppers and onions together until smooth and set aside.
  • Blend the Egusi melon, half of the second onion, and crayfish together. Set aside as well.
  • Heat the palm oil in a pan and allow it to melt over medium heat but don't overheat the oil. Add the remaining half onion (diced) and half of the locust bean. Let it cook for about 3 minutes on medium heat.
  • Add the blended pepper and cook till the water is reduced this should take about 15 minutes on medium heat stirring about every 5 minutes to prevent burning.
  • Add the remaining locust bean, beef stock, and salt to taste. Cover and leave to cook for another 5 minutes
  • Gently introduce the blended egusi inside the sauce but don't stir it at this point. Just cover it and leave it to cook for about 20 to 30 minutes Keep an eye on it so it doesn't burn but try not to stir it until the Egusi turns into a soft compact mass. Then, gently stir together and add more stock or water if necessary.
  • Add the fish and meat and leave to cook again for another 5 minutes.
  • Stir in the spinach and leave to simmer for about 5 minutes (stir constantly).  Adjust the seasoning if necessary. 
  • Serve while still hot.

Video

https://youtu.be/LqGj3_UT9h8

Notes

  • The typical ingredients used for Egusi soup are peppers, Onions, Locust bean and crayfish and we also like to add either beef, Goat meat or dry fish. Occasionally Chicken and Turkey are used.
 
  • Once, the Egusi is well cooked, stir in the spinach. Adjust the seasoning if necessary and voila your Egusi soup is ready!. Serve with your choice of swallow like Eba, Amala, Semovita, Pounded yam, Fufu, and like I said earlier if you are an hardcore like I am you can serve over Rice.
 
  • A common question I usually get asked is this:  Is it okay to use Tomatoes for making Egusi soup or Efo riro? The answer is yes, you can definitely use Tomatoes if you choose to.
 
  • I know Egusi is called by different names such as Agusi or Agushi depending on where you come from. Let me know what you call Egusi in your tribe/dialect?

Nutrition

Calories: 457kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 39g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Cholesterol: 50mg | Sodium: 297mg | Potassium: 804mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 12470IU | Vitamin C: 37.9mg | Calcium: 147mg | Iron: 3.3mg

Let’s connect!

You can find me on Facebook, and Instagram. I love keeping in touch with all of you!

If you make this Egusi soup recipe, I’d love to see pictures of your creations on Instagram and Facebook. #cheflolaskitchen

Recipe Rating




Joy

Friday 2nd of September 2022

Thanks for your recipe Chef Lola. Super helpful as always.

I'm trying to decide if I should use Spinach or Ugwu for my first egusi try... I like my veg green and slightly crunchy.

Any thoughts?

Shavonne

Monday 25th of July 2022

I really love this recipe, I tried it, and my mom and I cooked it was so delicious and it was our first time trying egusi with fufu. Thanks a lot, Chef Lola. I love all your recipes.

Matthew Okpalaeke

Tuesday 10th of May 2022

Wonderful step by step demonstration. Please let people know that the proteins(Meat/Fish) need to be cooked to preference taste before being added to the stew. Thank you very much for your quick, easy and delicious Egusi stew preparation. I love it.

Chef Lola's Kitchen

Saturday 28th of May 2022

Thank you, Matthew.

Monday 28th of March 2022

Thank you Chef Lola. Your recipes are on point and very easy to follow!!!

Chef Lola's Kitchen

Wednesday 30th of March 2022

Thank you. I am happy that you find them useful.

Violet

Saturday 19th of February 2022

This is an amazing delicious recipe. Was a delight for everyone that tried it. Many many thanks chef Lola!!😊

Chef Lola's Kitchen

Friday 25th of February 2022

I'm happy everyone loved it. If you ever need more delightful recipes to wow your family and guests, you know where to find them.