Egusi Soup Recipe
Start to Finish: 2 hours
Servings: 4 to 6
Made with the prized seeds of a bitter melon, Nigerian egusi soup has several modes and styles of preparation. Exotic ingredients may include goat meat, dried fish, powdered crayfish or pounded yam — but the most elusive ingredient is the egusi itself.
The seeds can be imported fresh or ground, but some enterprising cooks have employed clever substitutes such as pumpkin seeds.
- 2 tablespoons palm oi
- 1 pound flank steak or goat meat
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1/2 cup dried fish or dried crayfish
- 1 medium white onion, sliced
- 4 chicken bouillon cubes
- 4 minced hot peppers of your choice
- 5 cups water
- 2 cups ground egusi seeds (or pumpkin seeds)
- 1 cup chopped spinach or chard
- 1/2 cup peanut oil
1. In a large heavy skillet, sear the meat, adding salt on the first turn.
2. Reduce the heat to medium. Sprinkle on the dried fish or crayfish. Add the sliced onion, and crumble 2 of the bouillon cubes on top.
3. Stir while cooking, and as soon as everything is combined, add the hot peppers, still stirring. Scrape the sides and bottom of the pan diligently, and cook for 2 minutes.
4. Transfer the contents of the pan into a large soup pot and add 5 cups of water. Bring to a boil; reduce the heat, and simmer for 30 minutes.
5. After 30 minutes, check to see if the meat is fork tender. If it’s not ready and the liquid is sparse, just add a little more water and continue to cook, stirring every 10 minutes, for 30 more minutes.
6. When the meat is tender, add the ground egusi (or pumpkin) seeds, the chopped greens and the remaining 2 bouillon cubes. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
Some like clumps in egusi soup. To form them, just squish up the egusi seeds with a bit of oil and deep fry them. Add them to the soup just before serving.