Egusi Soup is an extremely popular Nigerian vegetable soup. Popular vegetable options for Egusi soup are Ugu (Pumpkin leaves), Spinach and Bitterleaf, Soko and Okazi. I usually use either Ugu or Bitterleaf for my Egusi soups but I had the joy of getting my hands on fresh Okazi leaves at the weekend and thought to try using some for Egusi soup, no regrets…?
Before I go on with the recipe details, I should really apologise for the long hiatus. I’ve been extremely busy and swamped with work and personal matters. I did get a ton of enquiries from people asking if all is well with me and I do appreciate the love, thank you. Well, now we’re back in business!
I digress! 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 clumpy Egusi soup, so stay tuned..:)
If you can’t get your hands on Okazi leaves, you can use either Spinach or Kale leaves, these two are just as yummy. I do have a recipe for Yoruba style Egusi soup, please click HERE to view the recipe….
So, let’s begin.
Assorted meats (Beef, Shaki, Ponmo, Goat meat, Cow leg are ideal)
1.5 Cups Whole Egusi/ 1 Cup Ground Egusi
1 Cup Palm Oil
2 Cups Chicken/ Meat Stock
2-3 Red Bell Pepper (Tatashe)
2 Medium Onions
2 Scotch Bonnet (Atarodo)
1 Cup Thinly Chopped Okazi/Ukazi leaves
3 Heaped Tablespoons Ground Crayfish
1/4 cup Smoked Prawns (optional)
1 Medium Size Smoked Fish or 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 and set aside.
Soak the thinly sliced Okazi leaves in hot water for 5 minutes. Rinse to remove all traces of dirt…
Transfer your Egusi into a frying pan and place on medium heat. Toast for 3-5 minutes; shaking the pan vigorously when it begins to toast then blend the Egusi with onions and set aside.
Boil your meats with enough onions and seasoning….
When the meats are almost soft, add the stock fish and cook till soft…
Place a pot on a hob on medium heat, add the palm oil, when it’s hot, chop half of an onion and add into it. Sauté the onions till fragrant,then add the locust beans, sauté for 2 minutes, then add half of the crayfish, continue to sauté for a minute.
Now, add the blended Pepper and Maggi Crayfish. If you’ll be using stock later on, do not add Salt.
Fry the Pepper for 10 minutes, at this time the size should have reduced by almost half and oil should have settled on the top.
You don’t have to use as much oil as I did, though Egusi does require quite a lot of the oil as the melon seeds soak up most the oil.
Now add 1 cup of stock or water and continue to cook, be careful not to add too much stock or water.
Let this fry for a further 5 minutes, then add the blended Egusi, then add the boiled meats and smoked fish…
Let this continue to cook for 5 minutes, then add the shredded smoked fish and prawns…
Now add the soaked Okazi leaves, stir and combine, taste for salt and seasoning, adjust if necessary. Cook for 8 minutes or until the leaves become soft. Okazi is a tough vegetable and as such, will need a while to soften.
Switch the heat off and let it simmer with the residual heat for 2-3 minutes…