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How to cook Egusi soup in easy-to-follow recipes

There are refreshingly different ways to go about it if you’re interested in learning how to cook Egusi soup. You can learn via live practical sessions with family and friends, you can cook along with YouTube videos, or you can learn the hard way, aka DIY, after several trials and errors.

However, if you follow this article to the letter, you wouldn’t have to worry about Mr Salt and Dr Pepper ruining your pot of soup. Or exhaust your precious data on videos.

You could also erase from the minds of your family and friends the thoughts that you’re more interested in consuming their Egusi soups than actually wanting to learn how to cook it because of your frequent, well-timed visits.

Let’s teach you the different methods of cooking Egusi soup.

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How to cook Egusi soup: Frying Method

Egusi soup

Egusi soup, in different variants, is a famous soup amongst most cultures in Nigeria. The three significant tribes have a name for this delicacy made from ground melon seeds.

Ofe Egusi (Igbo), Efo Elegusi (Yoruba) and Miyan Agushi (Hausa) are cooked without vegetables or with different types such as Spinach, Bitter leaf, Ugu and others. It can be served with Eba, Pounded Yam, Amala, Fufu, Semolina, Wheat, Agidi, Tuwo Shinkafa, and Rice.

Egusi has a dietary value. It has about 50 per cent of healthy fats, 30 per cent protein and lots of vitamins.


Egusi soup ingredients  

  • Four cups of Egusi seeds
  • Three cooking spoons of palm oil
  • Assorted meat
  • Dry fish and stockfish
  • Two tablespoons of crayfish (grind)
  • Pumpkin leaf, spinach, or bitter leaf
  • Three small stock cubes
  • Locust beans (optional)
  • Salt & Pepper (to taste)

Pre-cooking routine

Before preparing the soup, you must soak the dry fish and stockfish in water until it softens. You might need to boil the fish for 20 minutes if you are using a very tough stockfish. Then leave the fish in hot water to soak for 50 minutes. When the fish and stockfish are soft, remove the bone and break it into small chunks.

Grind the Egusi, the crayfish, and the dry pepper separately. Then set aside.

Rinse the vegetables and cut them into tiny pieces.

Cook the beef (starting with the toughest one) and fish with the stock cubes till they are ready.

Set all these aside.

SEE: How to make peanut: A step by step guide

How to cook Egusi Soup: Egusi soup recipe

  • Pour the palm oil into a dry pot or frying pan and set on a burner to heat.
  • Add the Egusi as soon as the oil is translucent. And start frying.
  • Thoroughly mix the Egusi with the palm oil till it turns yellow.
  • Stir the Egusi in low heat and keep frying for about 15 minutes.
  • Add the boiled meat/fish stock intermittently as you stir the Egusi.
  • When the stock has finished, and the soup is still too thick for your liking.
  • Add hot water until you get the level you want.
  • If the bitter leaf is your vegetable of choice, this is the time to add it. If you prefer other softer leaves, add a few minutes before removing the soup from the fire.
  • Cover the pot and cook for 15 minutes. Stir at intervals to avoid burnt offering!
  • Add the ground crayfish and pepper and stir.
  • Then add the pumpkin leaves or spinach.
  • Stir and add the cooked stockfish, Shaki, and meat.
  • Add salt.
  • Cover and let it simmer for 10 minutes. The Egusi is ready once you notice that the oil ‘sits’ above the mix.

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How to cook Egusi soup: Boiling Method

Egusi dish
Egusi dish

Below are the steps on how to cook Egusi soup without frying. Before we dive into the instructions, let’s list the ingredients for making Egusi soup using the boiling method.

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Ingredients for making Egusi soup without frying

  • Crayfish
  • Smoked catfish or any fish of your choice
  • Stockfish
  • Bitter leaf
  • Spinach
  • Seasoning cube
  • Red pepper
  • Yellow pepper
  • Locust beans
  • Palm oil
  • Meat

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How to cook Egusi soup without frying

1. Season the meat

Put water in a pot. Add diced onions, cubes, and other spices to the meat in the pot. Put the pot on a burner and heat.

2. While the meat is boiling, wash your pepper with warm water and wash the smoked catfish with hot water and salt.

3. After boiling the red pepper for about 12 minutes, blend it with the yellow pepper, onion, and crayfish. Add water to it, then mix. After blending the pepper, add the locust beans to it. Blend till you’re sure it’s ready.

4. Add the pepper mixture to the meat on fire. Allow it to boil for a few minutes.

5. Here’s the time to blend the Egusi seeds. You can add onions to it and a bit of water to achieve a smooth mix. After blending, pour it into a small bowl and set it aside until the meat and the pepper mixture are ready.

6. Add stock fish, seasoning cube and everything you are using to cook the Egusi soup inside the meat. Wash and add stock fish to the sauce. Add seasoning cube and salt until it suits your taste. Then add the catfish.

7. Stir thoroughly and allow it to boil before adding the Egusi. Taste it to be sure the seasoning is enough.

8. Cover your pot halfway and allow it to cook for about 5 minutes on low heat.

9.  Add bitter leaf but don’t stir after adding it. Allow it to cook for about 4 minutes on low heat.

10. Open the lid and stir the ingredients. This is the time to taste the soup to know if the salt and seasoning are enough.

11. Add frozen spinach and allow to cook for about 5 minutes. Stir continually.

12. Remove your Egusi soup off the burner and serve with Eba or its ‘younger ones’.


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How to cook Egusi soup with tomatoes

Fresh tomatoes are high in nutritional value, and their combination with Egusi makes for a delicious recipe.

A mountain of Egusi soup

Ingredients for making Egusi soup with tomatoes

  • Egusi
  • Onion
  • Stockfish
  • Salt
  • Seasoning cubes
  • Fresh tomatoes
  • Fresh or dry pepper
  • Crayfish
  • Palm oil
  • Vegetable leaves
  • Meat

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How to cook Egusi soup with tomatoes recipe

1. Meat stock: Add sliced onion to your meat. Put a bit of salt and boil your meat stock with a cup of water for about 30 minutes on medium heat.

2. Slice your fresh tomatoes and pepper, blend them and keep aside.

3. After 30 minutes of boiling the meat stock, turn it in a bowl. Use the same pot for the next stage – frying your Egusi.

Add your Egusi

4. Add two spoonfuls of palm oil to the pot. Put your sliced onions with the blended fresh tomatoes, stir and allow it to fry for about 5 minutes.

5. The tomatoes should be dry after 5 minutes. Add the blended Egusi into the stew, then stir until the Egusi has thickened and mixed with the stew.

6. Add the meat stock to the pot of Egusi soup, add some water, and then stir.

7. Add crayfish, stock fish, dry pepper, cubes, and salt. Stir until all ingredients are well mixed. Then cover the pot.

8. Allow the Egusi soup with tomatoes to cook for about 5 minutes.

9. Open the pot and add your vegetable leaves and stir.

10. If you want your vegetable to be fresh, don’t cook beyond 2 minutes.

Now your Egusi soup with fresh tomatoes is ready!

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How to cook Egusi soup with lumps

Something about Egusi soup with lumps makes it irresistible to most people. Maybe it’s the appearance of the lumps or its pleasant taste. Well, let us know after trying the recipe we are about to share with you.

Egusi soup with catfish
Egusi soup with catfish and ponmo

Ingredients for Egusi soup with lumps

  • 2 cups of Egusi
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 1.5 cups of palm oil
  • 2 tablespoons of crayfish
  • 1 cup of stock
  • 2 bouillons of cubes
  • 1 pound of vegetables
  • 1/2 pound of smoked fish (shredded into chunky pieces)
  • 2 medium-sized onions
  • Beef, chicken, fish etc.
  • Salt to taste

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Recipe for Egusi soup with lumps

  • Pour the Egusi and dice the onion into a bowl. Mix thoroughly. Add water and mix to form a paste. Set aside.
  • Add palm oil to a pan. Fry the Egusi for about 4 minutes on medium heat.
  • Remove from heat and drain the oil. And set aside.
  • Add a little palm oil to a pot. Add diced onions and let that cook for a couple of seconds. Then add the sauce. Allow it to simmer for 6 minutes.
  • Add the stock cubes, crayfish, smoked fish, and salt to taste.
  • Now add the fried Egusi to the sauce. Allow it to cook for 20 minutes on low heat. This is not the time to be distracted with Manchester derby on DStv. At this stage, keep checking what’s on fire to avoid burning the soup.
  • Add water or stock if it’s getting too dry.
  • Then add spinach or the vegetable of your choice of meat or fish. Leave to simmer for 10 minutes or fewer, depending on the toughness or otherwise of the vegetable.


SEE: How to cook catfish pepper soup

How to cook Anambra Egusi soup

No place in Nigeria can lay claim to the Egusi soup, but trust our kindreds from the southeast to have their own variant of the delicious soup. Igbo Kwenu!

Egusi soup ready to be served
Egusi soup ready to be served

Ingredients for Anambra Egusi soup

  • Egusi
  • Boiled meat or chicken or goat meat
  • Boiled stock fish
  • Cleaned smoked fish
  • Ugu leaves
  • Crayfish
  • Pepper
  • Onions
  • Seasoning cubes
  • Locust beans
  • Palm oil
  • Salt

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Anambra Egusi soup recipe

  • Add water to your boiled meat. It should be proportional to the quantity of soup you want to make. Cook until it boils.
  • Pour crayfish into a mortar and pound.
  • Add pepper and locust beans to the mix.
  • Pound all to a smooth paste.
  • Clear the crayfish paste from the mortar.
  • Set it aside.
  • While waiting for the meat stock to boil, pour your already-ground Egusi into the mortar.
  • Add a pinch of salt and pepper and pound.
  • After pounding, roll the paste into small balls and set them aside on a plate.
  • You can now chop the onions, and Ugu leaves.
  • Add Egusi balls to the boiling stock and cover the pot.
  • After a few minutes, add onions and the crayfish paste inside the pot. Stir. Then add your seasoning cubes, palm oil, and salt to taste.
  • Add stockfish or dried fish, or smoked fish. Allow it to cook for two minutes. Then add the vegetables and stir.

Your Egusi soup is ready to eat!

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How to cook Egusi soup without vegetable

Egusi Ijebu is an Egusi soup prepared without vegetables – the way the Ijebus like it. It is their special delicacy, and the absence of vegetables sets it apart from Efo Elegusi and the other Egusi soups. Another distinguishing feature is that Egusi Ijebu is smooth, while most other Egusi soups are thick and lumpy.

Notes on Egusi soup without vegetables

Egusi Ijebu must be smooth like Gbegiri (beans soup), so you have to blend the Egusi, onion, and pepper to a smooth level.

When the blended Egusi is in a pot of meat stock, stir continually to prevent the lumps from forming.

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Recipe for Egusi soup without vegetable

The following procedure shows how to cook Egusi Ijebu:

1. Boil the meat with the ingredients.

2. Add water to the mixture while stirring.

3. Add the ground Egusi and mix to get a paste. Set it aside.

4. Add salt to the paste while mixing. Fry for a few minutes.

5. Remove the paste from the source of heat and mix with a spoon. Let it cool for about two minutes.

6. Add fish, meat stock, Ponmo, etc.

7. Mix it and leave it there for a few minutes to simmer.

Your Egusi Ijebu is ready for consumption!

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We do hope you enjoyed all the recipes on how to cook Egusi soup. Don’t forget to share the recipes and the outcomes with your family and friends.

They will now start picking up your calls and extending more invitations. Also, share your thoughts about your experience using the comment box below. Thanks!  

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FAQS for How to cook Egusi Soup

Is it possible to substitute vegetable oil for palm oil in egusi soup?

While palm oil is the preferred oil for making efo elegusi due to its distinct flavor and color, vegetable oil can also be used as a substitute if you do not have access to or prefer not to use palm oil.

How can I achieve a lumpy texture in my egusi soup?

If you prefer your egusi soup to have lumps of egusi, there is a cheat method you can try. Mix half an egg into the egusi mixture before adding liquid, then form small balls and add them to the pan. Proceed with the recipe as usual, and you will end up with lumps of egusi in your soup.

What is the best way to store egusi?

Egusi seeds can be stored in an air-tight container at room temperature for a few weeks. Ground egusi, on the other hand, has a shorter shelf life due to the oil in the seeds going rancid and giving off an unpleasant taste. For long-term storage, it is best to keep both the seeds and the ground egusi in the freezer, where they can last for several months.

Victor Akhidenor
Victor Akhidenor
I’m an award-winning journalist with over 10 years of experience in the industry. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and a Master’s degree in Media and Communication. I also have a certificate in Media Enterprise from Pan-Atlantic University as well as a D Diploma in football coaching. Aside from the media, I have work experience in insurance claims processing, marketing, credit analysis, and corporate communications in the banking sector. My hobbies are watching sports activities, reading and writing, carrying out research, traveling, and photography.