Egusi Soup – Efo Elegusi

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..egusi soup 2
Place a pot on a hob on medium heat, add the palm oil, when it’s hot, add half chopped onion…egusi soup 3
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.egusi soup 4
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…egusi soup 6
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..egusi soup 7

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. egusi soup 5Add 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…egusi soup 9
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…egusi soup 10

Then add the Efinrin/Basil leaves, cook for a further 2 minutes…egusi soup 11
Switch the heat off and let it simmer with the residual heat for 2-3 minutes…egusi soup 12
And it’s done… Serve with your preferred Swallow…Egusi soup

egusi soup 14

Egusi soupHere are some more popular Nigerian soups recipe you may be interested in. Do click on any one you prefer to view.

Efo Riro Recipe

Ogbono Soup Recipe

Buka stew Recipe

Edikang Ikong Recipe

Ayamase – Ofada Stew


Do give us a feedback if/when you do try this Efo Elegusi – Egusi Soup recipe and don’t forget to share this recipe with your friends using the “Share” options below and do follow us on Instagram @Sisi_Jemimah…..and do subscribe to the Blog. See you in the next recipe!

36 thoughts on “Egusi Soup – Efo Elegusi

  1. G whizz!! That’s the best egusi I’ve had in my life. Thanks for this. Followed the recipe to the T save the Basil and shrimps…my guests licked fingers all the way home

  2. i just made this and it turned out awesome!!! wish i could attach a picture. thanks a lot.. will be trying my hands at more foods using your recipes. God bless.

  3. Hi Sis J!!! OMG!!! You are God send, my comment is going to be a long one lol!!! First God bless you and May Him grant you with all your heart desires because you have made my burden lighter.
    Yesterday was one of the happiest day of my life, my husband wanted to eat egusi soup and he said he will come and cook when he gets home, so I said let me just go online and look for egusi soup recipe and surprise him so I found several ones and almost got discouraged when I miraculously found your site and I was saved! Thank God I had all the ingredients and I followed all the steps and wallah!!! I just shocked my husband and he couldn’t believe it he just can’t stop praising me! First time pro! All thanks to you. He was simply shocked because am not even Nigerian so he was happily surprised and he called almost all his friends lol. Thank you so much for making me a better wife, finally my husband can eat what he loves. God bless you more.

    • Awww!!!! I’m so so sorry for the late response. I don’t get blog notification so I have to look through recipes every now and then to keep up. I’m super glad the recipe worked out great for you. Was grinning from ear to ear while reading your comment. Thanks so so much!!!

    • Sorry for the late response, glad the recipe worked out great for you, thanks so much for taking the time to leave a feedback…x

  4. Thanks a lot sisi Jemimah. I hav bn practicing ur method n is bn working for me. Pls u didn’t tell us how to use egg in the egusi .

  5. Really yummy! I have been cooking egusi in the past but hubby was just managing it. Lol. This was amazing and got him eating swallow a lot. I didn’t even use basil. The key for me was the crayfish in egusi and not using tomatoes.
    Many thanks for this!

  6. Hi where can i find ugu in the us? is there a substitute? I have never tried basil but from the reviews I would like to try. Is this straight sweet basil or thai basil?
    Thanks. great stuff

  7. What can i substitute for ugu or where can I find that in the us? Also the efinrin; is that straight basil or thai basil? I have never used basil but I am willing to try since this recipe looks delicious and the reviews are awesome.

    • Hi, sorry for the late response, you can use Kale or Spinach. It’s just the normal Basil, straight perhaps. Not sure if that’s what it’s called… you’re welcome.

  8. One of the best soups ever eaten. Everyone loved it. I love ur site. Keep up the good work. I just trust everything u cook.

    • Aw! Habks for your lovely feedback, I’m glad you loved it. Thanks for the kind words as well. God bless you loads…x

  9. Good morning aunty Jemimah, am a yoruba lady, please interprete to me in yoruba language what you mean by BASIL leaves, SPANISH leaves, SCENT leaves, PUMPKIN leaves, I will be glad if you can do it for me. Thanks.

  10. This efo elegusi looks delicious and I am going to try it this way. But can you tell me what’s efinrin you did say basil leave.the real basil leave herb? Please let us know.

    Good work. Sisi jemimah.

Join the discussion!

Love Our Recipes? Then Stalk Us Here!