egusi soup

How To Make Egusi Soup In Nigeria

Diverse types of Nigerian soups exist but perhaps the egusi soup is the most common food all Nigerians absolutely love.

The efoegusi as it’s more widely known by the Igbo tribe in Nigeria is commonly eaten with pounded yam. The Ibibio, Efik, Esan, Edo, Etsako and Yoruba people also love the egusi soup. This mouthwatering delicacy is not only known to Nigeria but West Africa as a whole.

The egusi is also commonly used to cook the palaver sauce which is a common recipe in Sierra Leone, West Africa, Ghana, and Nigeria.

Fun facts

·        What is the English name of egusi? Egusi is the name for the protein and fat-rich seeds of certain plants including melon, squash, and gourd. It is a popular West African cuisine

  • Is egusi a carbohydrate? Not really, egusi contains over 60% protein and only 8.2% carbohydrate
  • Is egusi good for cholesterol? The egusi contains mainly polyunsaturated fatty acids which are healthy fats and can improve your cholesterol level.
  • Is egusi good for health? Yes, it is, it contains vitamin A, B1, B2 and C, protein, potassium, carbohydrate, low cholesterol, fiber, sugar, saturated fat, calcium, and sodium.

Nigerian Egusi Soup Recipes

You need to know that the egusi soup has not one recipe but too many depending on the vegetable and other variations you want.

For vegetable choices, you can make with Bitter leaf, Pumpkin leaf, Uziza leaf, Okazi, Scent leaf and many more. It’s served with pounded yam, but garri and egusi soup is equally popular. The egusi soup is also served over a variety of swallows including fufu, pounded yam, semovita, and amala. For your meat, you can choose between goat meat, cow meat, smoked or fresh fish and chicken. However, cooking with chicken and dry fish may not be recommended by most people.

For me, my favorite is the egusi stew for rice. 

Now let’s look at the main ingredients to the famous Nigerian egusi soup.

  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Servings: 8 people


  • ½ to 1 cup of palm oil
  • Salt to taste
  • 7-8 cups of stock of your desired meat or fish
  • Cooked meat & fish to your preferred quantity
  • 2 medium-sized onions
  • 3 cups of melon seeds ( deshelled)
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • Habanero pepper
  • 2 stock cubes ( optional)
  • 3 tbsp. of locust beans
  • 3 tbsp of bitter leaf ( or any other vegetable you want to use) 

Instructions for cooking

There are two main ways to cook your equsi, you can either use the fried egusi method or the healthier recipe which is by boiling. We will share both methods with you.

remember that you must boil your meat and fish before cooking your soup. the meat stock will serve as the primary water addition to the soup.

How to cook the egusi soup boiling method

  • Grind your 1 onion and pepper together to achieve a uniform paste. Set aside
  • Now, blend crayfish, ½ onion and egusi and set aside
  • Heat the palm oil in a pan for a few minutes, do not overcook the palm oil. Next, add the diced half onions and half of the locust beans and sauté for about 3 minutes
  • Now add the blended pepper mixture and a little water (remember you are going to add the meat stock). Cook for about 15 minutes while stirring every 5 minutes to prevent burning
  • Now add the stock, remaining locust beans and salt to taste
  • You can your stock cube and adjust the pepper if needed
  • Now introduce your egusi into the pot and cover the pot, do not stir but allow to cook for about 30 minutes. Nevertheless, pay attention to the pot and make sure you are cooking at medium heat to prevent the egusi from burning. 
  • After about 20 minutes, stir and watch as your egusi turns into a soft mass.
  • Now add your fish and meat and cook for another 5 minutes
  • Add your desired vegetable, simmer for 5 minutes, and set aside. You can also adjust season if necessary
  • Serve hot

How to cook the egusi frying method

Some people just love frying everything including their egusi soup, so here’s how you can cook egusi by frying if that’s your preferred style.


Because you will be frying the egusi, you have to adjust your palm oil, use every other thing but increase your palm oil to about 3 to 5 cups. If you are concerned about the quantity of oil, then you have to use the boiling method. Now here’s how to cook your fried egusi soup:

  • Grind your 1 onion and pepper together to achieve a uniform paste. Set aside
  • Now, blend crayfish, ½ onion and egusi and set aside
  • Add your red oils to the pot and set on heat
  • Once your oil melts and hits up a little, add your egusi and begin frying 
  • Make sure mixes properly with the egusi to achieve a yellow paste. Stir-fry at low to medium heat for about 10 minutes
  • Now add your meat or fish stock in small quantities while stirring your egusi. That means when you add a small quantity, stir-fry for a few seconds before adding another
  • When you’ve exhausted the stock and still feel that your soup is too thick, add a little hot water and allow the egusi soup to cook for about 20 minutes. Make sure you stir at intervals and add water if necessary to prevent burning
  • Now add the blended pepper and seasoning 
  • Stir and add the desired vegetable, salt, meat and fish
  • If too thick you can add some water and cook for about 5 to 10 minutes
  • Serve hot.

Wrapping up

The Egusi soup is absolutely delicious. However, always ensure that your egusi cooks for about 30 minutes or more. Note that egusi that is not cooked long enough can taste horrible to an authentic Nigerian. Also, improperly cooked egusi soup can cause an upset stomach. And there you have it, how to make egusi soup in Nigeria. Do bear in mind that there is a third way to cook egusi and this time, it’s with lumps. We will discuss that subsequently. For now, hit me up with comments about this delicacy.

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