Nigerian Egusi Soup Recipe

Why it works

  • A combination of roasted beef chuck, red onions and minced crayfish adds a layer of flavor to the stock.
  • Mix the ground egg seeds with water to make a paste, and pouch with stock to make a rich, creamy soup with a curd-like texture.

Creamy, nutty, exi soup is the staple food of homes, bukas, or food stalls throughout Nigeria and in many parts of West Africa. The soup is named after Egusi, or Agusi. This is a rich and flavorful species. Egushi soup is usually characterized by meat (smoked beef, chicken, goats, cow skin, guts, etc.), seafood (smoked dried or dried fish), straw (Nigerian tofu), mushrooms, and greens.

The oil-rich seeds of Egushi are derived from small, hard green melons dotted with cream-colored spots and streaks, resembling watermelons. Often called a white seed melon (cucumeropsis mannii), It is related to other cucurbitaceous gourds, melons, and pumpkins. You may also see it labeled as bitter melon (not to be confused with bitter melon, which is common in Asian cuisine), which is a reference to white meat that can be a bit bitter.

The seeds are first extracted from the pulp of the melon and then sun-dried until the shells are mustard yellow. Once dry, store as is, shell (mechanically or manually, in a more valuable and expensive way), or grind into coarse flour.

Seeds have a variety of culinary uses. It can be toasted as a snack. Grind and press to extract cooking oil. Blended with nut butter. Grinded into flour to bake or thicken soups and stews. I used it to make some kind of plague. Mgbam, a popular textured protein in eastern Nigeria, is made from a combination of ground egg seeds and mushroom tubers usu (similar to truffles, but without a strong flavor).

To make Egushi soup, first make a stock of beef, red onions, and crayfish. When ready, mix the coarsely ground red onions with chopped red onions and water to make a thick, creamy paste. Place in stewed stock and pouch until the paste hardens. Then stir everything and crush the paste to make a card. The finished soup, which can be topped with a mixture of wilted pumpkin and water leafy vegetables, is eaten like a stew. When you eat Egushi, you may be told that you are eating soup or licking soup. These common phrases are in favor of their thicker consistency.

Please note that my version is just one of many. Throughout Nigeria, egusi soups vary from region to region and from palate to palate. There are differences in the proteins used, seasonings, vegetables, and more importantly, how the Egushi itself is prepared. For example, a friend of mine from the east shared a creamy-style Egushi recipe that puts ground seeds in stock and cooks them for a uniform, creamy consistency. He finishes the soup with delicate herbs that add a layer of freshness and flavor. In contrast, Exijeb in southwestern Nigeria is similarly creamy, but uses toasted and ground exci seeds, stocks tomatoes, and omits greens.

Egushi juice goes well with swallows such as shrimp, fufu, and yam (soft cooked dough made from roots, tubers, vegetables, flour, etc.) (Mashed potatoes do not have seasonings, and the sweet and fun taste of yam is transparent. You can see it). You can serve the egg with white rice (usually perboiled long grains), dodo (fried plantain), and other starchy preparations (such as boiled yam or plantain), or you can enjoy it alone.

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