Egusi Ijebu is an Egusi (Melon seed) soup from the Ijebu (Ogun state) people of Western Nigeria. Egusi Ijebu is prepared without the addition of vegetables unlike the popular Efo Elegusi and it is also without clumps, unlike Oshiki (Lumpy Egusi). Unlike Oshiki and Efo Elegusi, the consistency of Egusi Ijebu is fluid, almost watery.
My mum is proudly Ijebu, so Egusi Ijebu was very popular delicacy in our household growing up. My mum could whip it up in her sleep, yeah, we had it that much….LOL! My mum doesn’t use Bell peppers (Tatashe) nor Scotch Bonnet (Atarodo) as stated in the recipe, she uses dried peppers (Ata Ijosi) instead. My grandma uses Ata Ijosi as well, she reckons that’s the original requirement. I’m choosing not to use Ata Ijosi for this recipe as I know a lot of people have trouble sourcing it but if you can, then by all means, use it.
To enhance the taste of your Egusi Ijebu, it is important to add Ogiri, this gives it the signature Egusi Ijebu taste, however, if you’re unable to source Ogiri, you can use locust beans. It is also important to roast your Egusi first before blending, this releases the oil in the Egusi and also helps to release the flavour.
I’ve had Egusi Ijebu with different kinds of protein and have found that the best protein to use is smoked fish. Try using smoked fish and goat meat for this recipe and you’ll never have it any other way again, that’s a promise. For an enhanced taste, try grilling the goat meat after boiling, thank me later….
So, let’s cook…!
Assorted meats (Beef, Shaki, Ponmo, Goat meat, Cow leg, Smoked Turkey are ideal)
1.5 Cups Whole Egusi/ 1 Cup Ground Egusi
1/2 Cup Palm oil
3 Cups Chicken/Beef stock
2 Medium Red Bell Pepper (Tatashe)
1 Medium Onion
2- 3 Scotch Bonnet (Atarodo)
2 Medium Size Smoked Catfish/ Eja Osan/ Eja Aro (Optional)
2-3 Medium Size Stock Fish/ Panla (Optional)
Small Chunk Ogiri or 2 Tablespoons Locust Beans if you can’t source Ogiri
2 Knorr Chicken or any bouillon cube of your choice
Salt to taste
Blend the bell peppers and scotch bonnet till smooth and set aside. If you’re using Ata Ijosi, you’ll need about 40grams.
Clean the smoked fish and soak in hot water to remove all traces of dirt. Set aside.
Pour your peeled Egusi into a frying pan and roast for 7-10 minutes on medium heat and set aside…
Add 1 cup of stock or water into a blender, add the roasted Egusi and onion, blend till smooth. Mine could have been smoother but I mistakenly used the wrong blade and was too tired to change it.
Place a pot on a hob on medium heat, add the palm oil, then locust beans if you’re using any, sauté till locust beans releases its flavour, then add the blended pepper. Do not add salt.
Fry the pepper for 8-10 minutes, at this time the size should have reduced by almost half. then add the rest of the stock, combine and leave to cook for 3-5 minutes….
Turn the heat down to low, then add the blended Egusi mixture gradually…
Stir thoroughly and cook for 10 minutes…
You’ll need to stir consistently to avoid clumping up, DO NOT add salt or seasoning. Salt or seasoning will make the Egusi begin to form clumps. The consistency of Egusi Ijebu is very fluid so make sure you add more water or stock if it begins to thicken up…
Then add the meats, then add the Ogiri, stir to melt and combine, taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary. You may add the bouillon cubes at this time.
Be careful not to over season if you incorporated stock previously.
Now, add the smoked fish, leave to cook for 3-5 minutes….Then switch the heat off and let it simmer with the residual heat for 2-3 minutes, the oil will begin to settle on the top…
And it’s done…
Serve with your favourite swallow. I only enjoy Egusi Ijebu with boiled white rice, I know right…:)
Before you go, do check out our Efo Elegusi recipe, click HERE for the recipe.