|Ground egusi||2 cups|
|Spinach (or other vegetable)||2 cups|
|Tomato sauce||4 cups|
|Chicken bouillon seasoning||1 tbsp|
|Cajun seasoning||1 tsp|
|Italian seasoning||1 tsp|
|Palm Oil||1/4 cup|
|Dry fish (optional)||1/2 cup|
Egusi seeds are from melons. No, not the seeds of the water melon which most of us are familiar with, but the seeds of the citrullus lanatus. To be completely honest, I’ve never seen these particular melons before, but from the pictures I’ve seen, they look so similar to water melons, I probably wouldn’t be able to tell the difference if they were put side by side. From what I’ve heard though, it’s a different story once you get inside the ‘fruit’, the flesh of the egusi melons are inedible and are discarded. It is only harvested for its seeds.
I used to think egusi soup was very complicated growing up. and so I never really used to cook it. However, pounded yam and vegetable egusi soup is one of my favorite meals. A few years ago when my mum came to visit me while I was still in school, I asked her to show me how to cook it. I used the method she showed me those many years ago in this recipe. You see, egusi is delicious when it is in clumps in whatever soup it is used in, almost like a meat, or to our vegetarian friends, like tofu. However, most people fry the paste (I will show how to make it into a paste) in oil first, before adding into the soup. While very nutritious, (contains essential amino acids, each seed has 35% protein, only 10% carbohydrate, 12% fibre) it has about 50% oil content in each seed. Frying it first in oil is simply an overkill.
If you are not near an African or international store, you can order from amazon.
Anyway, enough about my blabbing. Read along to see how to make delicious chunky egusi soup!
Prep Steps 🙁
- Prepare your tomato sauce. See here for how to make tomato sauce.
- Dice a quarter of the half onion.
Leave the egusi for now. We will prep that while the tomato sauce is cooking.
Let’s get to the egusi!
- Add the palm oil to your cooking pot and set to medium heat. Make sure to use a non-stick pot.
- Once the oil is getting hot, add in the onions, spices and bouillon seasoning, and one minute later pour in the tomato sauce. If you choose to use any dry fish or meats, add it in now as well. I like to get all the flavor into the oils and the stew base.
- While the stew is cooking, we will prepare the paste. Take the remaining onion, 1 cup water, the egusi, some salt and pepper if you wish and blend together. I used a food processor, but you can use a blender as well. You just need a fine paste.
- When finely blended through, you should have a nice thick paste as seen below
- Stir the stew now. Next, take a table spoon and take little scoops of the paste and submerge into the stew. Now, cover, and allow to cook for 10-15 minutes. DO NOT STIR.
- After the egusi is cooked, you will see it has cooked into firm chunks. You can now add the spinach or other green vegetable leaves of your choosing. Allow to cook only for another 5 minutes or less to preserve the nutrients in the vegetables.
Note: This is a complete meal for vegetarians, just leave out all the meats and fish, and use vegetable bouillon instead.
Time to dig in! This pairs well with any morsel. I love it with pounded yam, with rice, with bread, with eba, with egusi again. Yea, I love me some delicious egusi soup!
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