Tuesday, December 11, 2012

How I make Egusi Soup with Spinach

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Egusi soup is one of my favorite soups and I usually have it in the freezer after making a big pot. Sometimes I have to wait for a trip to the African store in order to make it, or I use what I have at home. Of course the basics have to be there, like the egusi itself, but most of the other ingredients can be improvised. This particular recipe is quite simple and traditional, as you'll see.

I cook two types of Egusi, one with bitterleaf and with the egusi boiled in the meat stock, and the other type with a more bland vegetable - ugu, kale, spinach, waterleaf - and I fry the egusi in the oil I'm using. This difference in preparation makes for a change in taste, flavor and texture and I love the versatility it gives me. Below is my recipe for the Spinach Egusi Soup.


3 cups Ground Egusi
5 pounds of your choice of beef, cut
1 pack of cut-up dried cod (okporoko/panla)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large tomato, diced in large pieces
2 tablespoons of ground crayfish
3 teaspoons of ground pepper
1 cup of palm oil
2 cubes of maggi
2 packs of frozen chopped spinach
Salt to taste


1. Put the beef and the dried cod in two cups of water with half the onions, one cube of maggi, some salt and one teaspoon of pepper.

2. Bring to boil and then simmer for 30 minutes or until cooked to your satisfaction. Turn off the heat or take the pot off the cooker.

3. Blend the rest of the pepper, crayfish, onions and diced tomatoes and put aside.

4. In another pot, add your palm oil and heat until lightly smoking.

5. Pour in your ground egusi and stir till completely mixed up.

6. Continue to stir every five to ten minutes for the next 30 minutes. Egusi needs to be thoroughly cooked unless it might upset the tummy when eaten.

7. Add the blended pepper mixture to the egusi and continue to stir till it dries up and the oil begins to separate from the rest of the mixture.

8. Pour in the meat and okporoko, plus stock and stir completely. Add the other cube of maggi, check for salt and then bring to a quick boil.

9. Add the spinach and then reduce the heat. Allow to heat till it begins to gently simmer, and then turn off the heat.

10. Your soup is ready. Eat with a side of poundo, rice or eba. With the quantity of ingredients used in this recipe, you should have some leftover.

By the way, has anyone had a bad experience with egusi that was not properly cooked? I know I have, one times than I care to remember especially when I used to eat out a lot in university, and then in Abuja. Not good memories. But that means that I always ensure to cook mine well like in this recipe.

So what do you think of my spinach egusi? or do you want to wait till you taste it before you score? Who else frys or simmers their egusi when they cook? Are there other vegetables you use in egusi apart from the ones I mentioned? And am I the only person who still uses palm oil in soups?


  1. Replies
    1. tnx to your blog Dobby, i've really learnt alot, im a regular visitor, keep it up dear...

    2. Thank you Dobby and Beauty. @Dobby love your recipes and food photos so much and it encouraged me to share mine :)

  2. hmmmmmm...........this all looks so good but am stuck (please forgive my ignorance) on the question ....what is Egusi?

    1. Hi Rhapsody, Egusi is used as a vegetable but is actually made from melon seeds. They are peeled, dried and ground. They have a great texture and taste when cooked.In Nigeria, Egusi is mostly used in soups.

  3. It looks fresh and healthy. No Myne, you are not the only one o, I use palm oil in soup. I've had many bad experiences with egusi that is badly cooked. When not properly cooked, it leaves a lingering smell right in my throat.

    Sometimes I cook egusi with Afang (okazi) vegetables. I will try with spinach and see how it goes, thanks.

    1. Thank you Eya, I get that funny taste sometimes too.

      BTW, I borrowed a leaf fron your Afang soup recipe and got an amazing vegetable soup. Will be sharing soon. From now, I'll be using Afang more than before, may even try the Egusi with Afang, the leaf tastes great.

    2. I love the way you detail your recipes, wish I could be that patient. Waiting impatiently for the Afang soup.

  4. This looks very good!!! Now i want some :(

  5. o boy! y'all are oppressing me with your cooking skills ..

    1. Thanks Nikki and Abi. @Abi, I'm just trying o :)

    2. *rolling eyes at Abi* Myne, you? trying?

  6. Looks good. I still use palm oil. The one thing I am not used to is putting tomato or bell peppers in naija soups but I have seen that in a few recipes, including yours now.

    1. Thanks MPB. I didn't grow up using tomatoes but I tried it once and liked the consistency it added. I don't know about red bell peppers here, they have a kinda sweet taste I don't want in my soup. Tatashe back in Naija though, I can use those.

    2. Like you MPB, I am not used to that too.

  7. Myne you are now what the Yoruba people call "olowo sibi".

    Looks delicious

  8. I made egusi some days ago,but with uziza leaf...really nice.

    Egusi doesn't upset ma tummy but it isn't a favourite either so don't eat it so much.

  9. Egusi is not my favorite. In fact we rarely cook it. As far as I can remember, I think we have had Egusi not more than 5 times since I was born and I am 30. LMAO!

    I have cooked it myself just 3 times - one for my BF, another for some friends at NYSC and the last one just last week for my parents - and funny enough they enjoyed it.
    The one I made for them was first time I fried it but I used very little red oil. The soup turned out very well. Thank God.

  10. Typical African woman recipe. ROFLOL. What quantity of oil do u add to the 3 cups of egusi na?


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