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Egusi Soup

Updated: Jun 18, 2020

Delicious egusi soup. In terms of Nigerian soups, egusi soup is my favourite (actually hated it as a child lol), and I made this one with beef, tripe (shaki), smoked turkey, fresh turkey and smoked fish. I’ve skipped on the cowleg and kpomo in this recipe (I don’t like them but the hubby does). But feel free to use any type of meat you like.


Beef (600g)

Smoked Turkey (900g)

Fresh turkey (900g)

Tripe/Shaki Honeycomb (400g)

Egusi – Grounded Melon Seeds (1.5 cups)

Smoked Catfish Fillets (1 cup)

Smoked Prawns (1/3 cup)

Grounded Crayfish (2 tablespoons)

Locust Beans/Iru (2 tablespoons)

Dried Efirin/Scent Leaf (1 tablespoon)

Bitter Leaf (1 tablespoon)

Spinach (8 cups of fresh chopped spinach)

Red bell peppers (4)

Scotch bonnet peppers (4) (adjust to suit your heat preference)

Onions (5) I used 3 onions for cooking the meats, and the remaining 2 onions for the rest of the cooking.

Garlic cloves (3)

Palm Oil

Sunflower Oil

To season I used: Salt, Black Pepper, Knorr Stock Cubes, Cayenne Pepper, All-Purpose Seasoning, Curry Powder and Thyme.


Cooking the meats...

Beef: Wash and clean the beef, add to a pot and season with salt, Knorr stock cube, dried pepper, curry powder, thyme, and black pepper I used about a teaspoon of each. Also add in 1 garlic glove and 1 chopped onion and stir together. Let this sear well on high heat before adding in water. TIP – I do this as its locks in more flavour in the beef. Allow this cook without water for around 3 minutes, after this add in enough water to cover the pieces of beef. Then just cover and leave to boil on medium heat for about 25-30 minutes.

- After boiling for around 25-30 minutes its ready and you should be able to see that the water added has reduced by half and has produced a rich and delicious stock which is essential for the egusi soup.

- Take out the beef and drain the stock.

- Next fry the beef for around 5 minutes turning regularly. You can choose to grill it in the oven if you wish.

- After 5 minutes take out the beef and drain on a kitchen towel to absorb the excess oil.

Shaki/Tripe: Moving on to the shaki, once washed simply boil this with salt and 2 teaspoons of curry powder. I also add in 2 cloves of garlic. TIP – this is an essential tip to remove that unpleasant smell of shaki and offal’s in general.  Then simply cover with water and leave to boil for 30 to 40 minutes. I don’t like mine too hard so 40 minutes comes out perfect.

- So the shaki/tripe has been boiling now for 40 minutes, and it’s ready. TIP – you’ll know when it’s ready as the edges curl inwards.

- Because of the garlic added, it really doesn’t smell, and at the same time it doesn’t reek of garlic either. I also advise taking a bite so you know it’s not too hard and if you need to cook it for longer.

Smoked Turkey: Next on to the smoked turkey. I don’t do much to this I just wash, place in a pot then add 1 onion that has been cut in half so it’ll be easier to remove and then cover with water. Don’t add any salt to this. Just cover and leave to boil for 10-15 minutes.

- So the smoked turkey will be ready first, as it only needs 10 minutes to boil. TIP – you’ll notice that the stock for this is murky, you don’t want to be using this stock for anything, so make sure you discard it. I personally like to rinse the smoke turkey out with water once ready.

- Now place the smoked turkey in an oven dish or tray and place in the oven at 210 degrees Celsius for 35 minutes. After 35 minutes in the oven it’s ready and will be nicely browned. Leave aside for later. You can also choose to fry it instead if you wanted.

Fresh Turkey: Now finally the fresh turkey. So once washed, place in a pot. I seasoned with salt, black pepper, Knorr stock cube, thyme, dried pepper I used quite a bit as I love the flavour the pepper gives, and 1 chopped onion. Stir together and just like the beef earlier, let this sear well on high heat before adding in water, as this locks in more flavour. Allow to cook without water for around 3 minutes, after this add in enough water to cover the pieces of beef. Then just cover and leave to boil on medium heat for about 20 minutes.

- After boiling for around 20 minutes it’s ready. Take out the turkey pieces. I don’t keep the stock from the turkey, just discard it.

- Fry the turkey for around 5 minutes turning regularly, I used the same oil as I used to fry the beef. And again you can choose to grill it in the oven if you wish.

- After 5 minutes take out the turkey and drain on a kitchen towel to absorb the excess oil.

*So just a recap of the meats that have been cooked do far: beef, shaki, smoked turkey, and turkey. Now set these aside to be used later.

Now lets move onto the remainder of the cooking...

  1. Next its time to prep the egusi.

  2. Soak the following in hot water: the smoked catfish fillets, the smoked prawns, and the dried bitter leaves and efirin (scent leaves)

  3. Cut up 1 onion and add to blender, and blend till smooth.

  4. In a bowl, add in 1.5 cups of ground egusi and pour in the blended onion. TIP – Adding the onion really makes a big difference, you can also add in a little ground crayfish in there as well. Mix this in well before adding water.

  5. Now add in a little water to make a paste, about ¼ cup and mix in well. If it is still a bit thick add in about another ¼ cup of water, mix in well till the consistency looks like a thick pancake batter.

  6. The way I like my egusi soup is to fry it. So to a pot or pan, add in palm oil, and once its hot enough (but not bleached), add in the egusi mixture.  Spread it out a little bit but don’t mix it in completely in the oil.

  7. After about a minute or so, mix in well then let it do its thing for a bit, then mix regularly so it doesn’t burn. You want to keep cooking it till it thickens and dries up a bit, and ends up looking like curdled cheese or scrambled eggs. Once that’s done, set aside for later.

  8. Now to a blender or food processor, add in 4 red bell peppers, 2 onions and 4 scotch bonnet peppers,, a little water to get things going and blend it up just until all the ingredients have been chopped up. Don’t blend it till smooth, you want a coarse pepper mixture.

  9. So now we can finally combine all the different elements of this dish together.

  10. So to a pot on high heat, add in oil with a little palm oil. Once this is hot enough, add in the pepper mixture, I don’t like wasting unnecessary time when cooking going back and forth to the stove, so immediately I add in 2 tablespoons of locust beans (iru), and 2 tablespoons of ground crayfish and mix in well.

  11. Also add in the smoked prawns and smoked catfish fillets that have been soaking in water. Combine well into the pepper mixture and leave to cook on high heat for 10 minutes covering the pot slightly.

  12. After 10 minutes the sauce will have reduced a little and developed a really good flavour with the ingredients already added.

  13. Now it’s time to add the meats. So add in some of the beef, turkey, shaki, and smoked turkey. TIP – add them in cautiously a little at a time, so you don’t add too much, soaking up all the sauce which can lead to a dry egusi soup. Next add in the beef stock and combine everything well.

  14. TIP – I haven’t seasoned the sauce with salt or anything yet as the meats and the stock will add in the majority of the flavour and taste. I will season as needed once all of the flavours marry together first.

  15. So once you’ve added the meats and the stock, cover slightly and leave to cook on medium heat for 10 minutes.

  16. After 10 minutes, stir, and this is where I taste to know if it needs any further seasoning. And I did, so I added a Knorr stock cube and a little salt and it was perfect.

  17. Now add in the egusi that was fried earlier, and add in a tablespoon of the dried efirin/scent leaves and bitter leaves. This is the game changer and completely elevates the taste of the dish. Stir in well cover and leave to cook on medium heat for 10 minutes to get all of the flavours from the egusi, peppers, meats and everything, properly infused.

  18. While its cooking, the final stage is to prep the spinach. So cut off the stems of the spinach, (its nice to have a little bit but too much). Bunch up the leaves together, removing any that aren’t fresh, and just basically chop it up.

  19. Next thoroughly rinse the spinach to clean it, removing the soil and any stones. TIP – It’s really important to rinse it well, its takes a few repetitions, so you basically just give the spinach a really good bath a couple of times. And I like to use cold water to rinse it and not hot, as I want the moisture from the spinach to infuse into the egusi soup.

  20. So back to the pot, after 10 minutes it looks like this and it’s ready for the spinach.

  21. So add in the chopped spinach, add it in a bit at a time to make sure you don’t add too much for the amount of egusi available. So this was 8 cups of fresh chopped spinach.

  22. So once the spinach has been added, lower or even turn of the heat and leave to simmer for about 2-3 minutes until the spinach has wilted, making sure not to cover the pot anymore.

  23. And after this, the egusi soup is ready! And trust me when I say it tasted spot on and so delicious! Pair with pounded yam which is my preference for egusi soup, or eba or amala, and some ice cold water (…enjoyment!)

Yes this recipe has a number of steps - with Nigerian cooking, it’s really what you put in that you get out, take your time and don’t skip steps or look for shortcuts if time permits, your tastes buds will thank you later.

Here are a few photos:

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