Egusi Soup – Efo Elegusi is an extremely popular Nigerian vegetable soup. The most popular vegetable options for Efo Elegusi are Ugu (Pumpkin leaves), Spinach and Bitterleaf. I prefer a mix of Ugu and Efinrin leaves. I choose to add Efinrin because it’s an aromatic herb and it’s distinctively flavourful in soups. I’ll be using both leaves today; fresh Ugu leaves and dry Efinrin leaves.
Egusi Soup can be prepared with clumps or without, it’s all down to personal preference. clumps are achieved by pre-frying the Egusi or by mixing raw egg with the ground Egusi and frying in palm oil or in the stew. I’m not a fan of clumpy Egusi soup, I prefer mine a tad bit watery, very much like Egusi Ijebu. I’ll be putting up recipes for both clumpy Egusi and Egusi Ijebu soon, so stay tuned..:)
If you can’t get your hands on Ugu leaves, you can use either Spinach or Kale leaves, these two are just as yummy. You can also use Basil leaves in place of Efinrin. Also, you may choose to add locust beans (Iru) to your Egusi soup, I usually don’t except when I’m preparing Egusi Ijebu.
So, let’s begin.
Assorted Meats (Beef, Ponmo, Goat meat, Cow leg, Shaki and other offals are ideal)
1.5 Cups Whole Egusi/ 1 Cup Ground Egusi
1/2 Cup Palm Oil
1-2 Cups Chicken/ Meat Stock
3 Red Bell Pepper (Tatashe)
2 Medium Onions
2 Scotch Bonnet (Atarodo)
1 Cup Chopped Ugu leaves
1/2 cup Efinrin/ Basil leaves
3 Heaped Tablespoons Ground Crayfish
1/4 Cup Smoked Prawns (optional)
1 Medium Size Smoked Fish / Stockfish
1/2 Cup Raw/ Cooked King Prawns (Optional)
1 Maggi Crayfish or any Bouillon cube of your choice
Salt to Taste
Blend the bell peppers, scotch bonnet and 1 onion roughly, also grind your Egusi if you haven’t done so already and set aside…
These are the ingredients I’ll be using..
Place a pot on a hob on medium heat, add the palm oil, when it’s hot, add half chopped onion…
Sauté the onions till fragrant, then add the blended pepper mix and Maggi crayfish or your preferred bouillon cube. If you’ll be using meat stock later on, do not add salt so you don’t end up going overboard with salt. If your stock is well seasoned, you’ll find you won’t need to add any more salt.
Fry the pepper mix for 10 minutes, by this time the size would have reduced by almost half and the palm oil would have settled on the top…
Now add 1 or 2 cups of meat stock (depending on how thick or watery you like your Egusi soup) and continue to cook for 5 minutes… If you haven’t got stock, just add water..
While that’s cooking, prepare your Egusi.
Blend the remaining half onion till smooth and add to your Egusi, also add 2 tablespoons Crayfish. Mix till smooth. Incorporating Onions and Crayfish into your Egusi adds more flavour and aroma to your soup. Add the Egusi paste into the stew and stir, let this cook for 5 minutes, then the meats, smoked/ stockfish, prawns and 1 tablespoon crayfish. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary…
Let this continue to cook for 5-7 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent burning..
Now add the Ugu leaves, stir and combine, cook for 2 minutes…
Then add the Efinrin/Basil leaves, cook for a further 2 minutes…
Switch the heat off and let it simmer with the residual heat for 2-3 minutes…
And it’s done… Serve with your preferred Swallow…