Egusi Soup

5 from 4 votes
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Egusi Soup is a finger-licking good Nigerian soup made with a white variety of pumpkin seeds. It is spicy, nutty with exotic African flavors! See the video below on how to make Egusi Soup.

Egusi soup with meat in a white bowl.

Add this recipe to your list of favorite soups and stews. It’s so tasty and easy to love, reason why it went viral on TikTok in 2020!

Love to try more hearty African soups? Check out this African Okra Soup and Cameroonian Pepper Soup.

Egusi Soup Recipe

I had to post this Egusi Soup recipe sooner than I planned because after sharing a photo of it on Instagram I had urgent requests for the recipe.

So friends, in order not to keep you waiting for so long, here is some delectable Nigerian Egusi Soup that will make your taste buds sing!

Egusi Soup is a soup made with a white variety of pumpkin seeds also called melon seeds (obtainable from African markets or Amazon.com). It is served with some form of fufu like pounded yam, garri, or cassava fufu.

Ingredients Needed

  • Ground egusi seeds: This is the main ingredient in this West African stew. You can blend the egusi in a coffee grinder or you can blend it with water into egusi paste in a high-powered blender.
  • Red palm oil: This is what gives the soup its bright orange color.
  • Crayfish: West African crayfish is different from crawfish in America and adds so much umami to this soup.
  • Meat and fish: Different kinds of meat like goat meat, beef, chicken, or even smoked turkey are great in egusi soup. Organ meats like tripe are also a great ingredient in this soup. Dried fish and stock fish, which are obtainable from African markets are also a typical ingredient.
  • Maggi seasoning: Gives the soup an authentic Nigerian taste. You could also use chicken or beef bouillon powder.
  • Hot pepper: Some form of hot pepper like habanero or scotch bonnet pepper is typically added for heat.
  • Leafy vegetables: Leafy vegetables like bitter leaves or pumpkin leaves (known as ugu in Nigeria) are added to egusi soup.

See the recipe card below with a detailed list of ingredients and instructions.

Egusi Soup is a Nigerian classic enjoyed in various forms across the country. Here is what egusi looks like:

Egusi seeds in a wooden brown bowl.

Egusi is basically white pumpkin seeds though some people prefer to call it melon seeds.

Variations

  • Add locust beans: Locust beans, also known in Nigeria as Iru or Eware is often added to Nigerian egusi soup for more natural umami.
  • Kale or spinach: In the absence of more authentic bitterleaf or ugu, use kale or spinach in your soup. I love adding frozen spinach just before the soup is done.
  • Yam or plantain: Apart from fufu, you can serve egusi soup with boiled African white yam or plantain. It also goes well with rice.

What does Egusi Soup taste like?

Egusi soup is nutty, spicy and so rich and meaty, thanks to the variety of meats and fish often used. Egusi is enjoyed in various ways in West Africa.

Check out this Cameroonian Egusi Pudding or this Egusi Stew or even this Ogbono and Egusi Soup.

Close-up shot of egusi soup in a bowl.

How To Make Egusi Soup

You can make this tasty soup in 3 easy steps.

  1. Boil the meats and/or fish you intend to use with salt and diced onions. Preferably do this the day before so making your soup is easy the next day. Reserve the beef stock.
  2. Grind the egusi. I advise that you always buy whole egusi seeds and grind them yourself. That way you are sure of the quality of the seeds. Pre-ground egusi is not always the best.
  3. Make the soup. Heat red palm oil, sauté onions, add the ground egusi and fry for a while in the oil, then add the boiled meats, crayfish and seasoning. Simmer until done.

It is really that easy!

Nigerian Egusi Soup in a round white bowl.

Egusi Soup and Pounded Yam

One famous way of eating egusi soup is with pounded yam – a dough-like side dish made out of pounded (or ground) African white yam.

These days, yam flour is available in African stores and on Amazon so you can easily make your own pounded yam at home.

Egusi soup and pounded yam on a plate.
Egusi Soup and Pounded Yam

You could also serve this soup with garri (fermented granules made out of cassava/yucca root).

To make garri, you simply have to boil water and add the granules to it. You can see how I make garri in this okra soup video.

Melon seed Soup served with Garri (Eba).
Egusi Soup Served with Garri

Egusi Stew

Egusi stew is similar to egusi soup in that they are all made out of egusi. But egusi stew is mostly made to be eaten with rice and the ingredients used are different. Check out my Egusi Stew recipe.

Egusi Stew in a wooden bowl.
Egusi Stew

P.S. I finally made a video on how to make Egusi Soup. This has been a long time coming. Hope you enjoy the recipe! See the video below.

Pumpkin seed soup served with garri.

Watch How To Make Egusi Soup

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Egusi Soup recipe - Africa

Egusi Soup – Nigerian Egusi Soup

5 from 4 votes
Egusi soup made the Nigerian way with red palm oil and different kinds of meats. Enjoy with pounded yam, garri or other kinds of fufu.
Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 1 hour
Servings: 6

Ingredients  

  • 2 cups egusi (not ground)
  • 3/4 cup palm oil
  • 1/4 cup crayfish
  • 1 shrimp seasoning cube also known as Maggi Crayfish or Maggi Crevette
  • 2 pounds meats and fish I used a variety of goat meat, stock fish and chicken
  • 1/2 cup onion – chopped
  • 1 habanero (or scotch bonnet) pepper
  • 1/2 -1 cup chopped greens (you could use bitterleaf for an authentic taste or substitute with spinach or kale) I used chopped spinach

Instructions 

  • Boil the meats and fish. Preferably do this the day before so that cooking is easier the next day. Start by boiling the tougher meats then add the less tough ones. Add salt halfway through the cooking process (about a teaspoon of salt). Reserve the stock of the meat. Also, if using stockfish, be sure to soak it for some hours first and rinse thoroughly before cooking (cook it separately from the other meats/fish and discard of the stock). Stockfish has a very pungent smell so if you aren’t used to it you might be shocked at how much it smells. But the taste is amazing in Egusi Soup!
  • Grind the egusi. Grind the egusi using the small cup of a blender, coffee grinder or whatever grinding machine you have on hand. Be sure to remove any bad seeds from the egusi before grinding.

Making the egusi soup.

  • Place palm oil in a pot and heat up on high for about 3 minutes (do not bleach). Add the onions to the palm oil and saute until fragrant. 
  • Add the ground egusi to the palm oil and let it cook in it, while you stir from time to time until the egusi shrinks and starts sticking to the bottom of the pot. About 7 minutes.
  • Add a teaspoon of crayfish and stir then add the cooked meats and their stock. Add the remaining crayfish, crayfish seasoning cube, habanero or scotch bonnet pepper then add water if needed according to desired thickness. Stir well and taste to ensure that seasoning is perfect. Let all the ingredients simmer together for about 5 minutes. 
  • Add the greens and let them cook in for about 2 minutes. Turn off the heat – your egusi soup is ready!

Notes

1. Options of meats to use include beef, goat meat, smoked/dried fish. I often just use a blend of what I have on hand or what I can easily find.
2. Most of the ingredients in this recipe can be found in African stores (for those who do not live in Africa).

Nutrition

Calories: 302kcal

Additional Info

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: African, Nigerian
Calories: 302
Tried this recipe?Mention @preciouscore or tag #PreciousCore!

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Close up of Nigerian Egusi Soup.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 (NLT)


About Precious

Welcome to my core! I am Precious Nkeih, the recipe developer and writer right here on my blog, Precious Core. My goal is to show you insanely delicious recipes you can replicate in your kitchen. And I love to tell stories too. Hope you find recipes here that will make cooking easier for you! Check me out on YouTube at YouTube.com/PreciousKitchen.


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36 Comments

  1. are you a married one? i am enormously fervent to apply for matrimony with you in spite of whatsoever the spending is. you do have possession of my achilles’ heel (appetizing cuisine).

  2. Hello Aunty Precy, in the case of not frying the egusi, can one cook it ordinarily by adding egusi after your stock is ready.

      1. Hello there Precious, nice recipes, but if I may ask, adding the ground egusi directly to the oil to fry, or as a paste of the stock from the combined meat, dry fish, and stock fish etc or to the mixture of the already mixed in meat stock and fried onions etc, which in your opinion produces the best taste?
        Another question is which way to go, locust beans or ogiri ??