My First Egusi Soup

Today I cooked egusi soup for the very first time and boy was it delicious! Eating egusi soup with pounded yam was sheer pleasure. For the unfamiliar, egusi (also known by variations including agusi, agushi) is the name for the fat- and protein-rich seeds of certain cucurbitaceous plants (squash, melon, gourd), which after being dried and ground are used as a major ingredient in West African cuisine [1]. Cooking egusi soup required utilising all of my cooking skills. Trust me, it is much more complex than making tomato soup, even with okro. But it was very rewarding. Here are the ingredients and procedure I followed to cook it.

Ingredients:

  • Whole crayfish
  • Whole melon
  • Chicken
  • Maggi chicken cubes
  • Spinach
  • Onions
  • Palm oil
  • Pepper
  • Bell pepper
  • All purpose seasoning
  • Salt
  • Stock (from boiling chicken)

Procedure

Prepare the chicken

Thaw the chicken

Wash chicken

Put chicken in a pot

Add water

Start to boil chicken

Slice one onion into pot for taste

Add a handful of salt

Add All Purpose Seasoning to the pot

Let the chicken boil.

Once the chicken boils, remove it and store it somewhere. Keep the stock as we will use this later.

Broil the chicken in an oven at 150 degrees C for about 15 minutes.

After broiling keep the chicken in a bowl to be used later.

Wash the pepper and bell pepper.

Slice both pepper and bell pepper into little bits.

Wash the spinach

slice the spinach

Wash the sliced spinach and keep it in a bowl for later.

Blend the melon in a blender adding a bit of water to facilitate the process. Keep the paste in a bowl.

Blend the crayfish with a bit of water as well and set it aside for later.

Put palm oil in a pot and heat it so that it is hot

Add sliced onions to the pot

Add sliced pepper and bell pepper to the mix.

Add blended melon to the pot.

Stir the mixture very well a bit to avoid it sticking to the pot.

Allow it to fry for a few minutes.

Then add blended crayfish to the mixture.

Add stock and stir the whole thing together.

Add a bit of water to the pot and allow the food boil.

Add salt and four Maggi cubes.

Add chicken to the pot and stir it a bit.

Then add spinach and mix it into the soup gently so as to avoid breaking the chicken.

Cover the pot and let it cook for a few more minutes.

Egusi soup is ready!

Note that I didn’t make it by my own knowledge. I give big props to Sisi Yemmie’s excellent guide [2] as well as Josephine’s thorough instructions [3]. Also, the procedure I followed isn’t unique. There is a lot of¬†flexibility in how to make it. For example, the guides I followed recommended using grounded egusi and grounded crayfish as opposed to the whole ones which I used and had to blend myself. Also, it’s possible to use various meats like ponmo (tripe), turkey, etc. to cook it. Iru (locust beans) can also be used when making the soup. There is even flexibility on what vegetable to use. I used spinach, but it’s also possible to use pumpkin leaves. Some even use tomato puree as well in making it. See the two Youtube videos I followed for more details.

References

1. Egusi – Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egusi [22/1/2017].
2. HOW TO COOK EGUSI SOUP! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F5JJ5hmKdi8 [22/1/2017].
3. How to make Egusi and vegetable soup. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w4JM08PDEng [22/1/2017].