Happy new month everyone! Can't believe June is here already. To start the new month we'd be making something very common in most Nigerian households and that is egusi soup with ugu leaves. Egusi with ugu leaves is one of my favorite Nigerian soups and also the most common too. This is probably due to the fact that most tribes in Nigeria have it on their menu although the methods of preparation may vary slightly. i'm a huge fan of ugu leaves because of the healthy nutrients it contains. click here for ugu juice + benefits
Egusi (melon) seeds contain lots of oil in it so it's advisable to use palm oil sparingly when preparing it. To brighten the color of the egusi soup, you could use tomapep puree which is a mixture of tomatoes and a blend of peppers to get the desired look and flavor.
It could also be prepared with different leaves such as uziza leaf, Onugbu "Bitter leaf, Afang "Wild spinach", water leaf e.t.c View full list of Nigerian leafy vegetables here - A different leaf means a different flavor. I think the two common various for me would be to cook it with washed bitter leaves or Ugu leaves.
How to make Egusi soup with Ugu leaves
• Prep Time: 30 minutes
• Total Time: Over 45 minutes
• Misc : Serve hot with "swallow", Boiled white rice or yam
• 2 Cups Melon Seeds "Egusi"
• 600g Red beef
• 1 medium sized Stock fish
• 2 Medium Smoked fish
• 1/2 Cooking spoon Cray fish
•2 plum Tomatoes
• 5 chili pepper "Shombo"
• 3 red scotch bonnet pepper "Ata rodo"
• 1½ Cup palm oil
• 1 bunch Pumpkin leaves
• 3 Seasoning cubes
• Salt to taste
Directions:::Step 1: The first step is to peel the egusi by removing the white Egusi seeds from the brown shell. Place the peeled Egusi in a dry mill (The smaller grinder that comes with the Cup blender) and grind till smooth. It might start to cake up but never mind, that's not a problem.
Step 2: Wash the pumpkin leaves (Ugu) with salt water to kill the germs and rinse with clean water. Chop the leaves and set aside
Step 3: Wash the Tomato, chili pepper and scotch bonnet. Blend into a puree - Set aside. Click here to view steps on how to make pepper puree
Step 4: For the Stock, you could use any type of meat or fish you choose to. For this particular recipe, i used a mixture of Stock fish, Smoked fish & Beef. Wash the Beef, Stock fish and Smoked fish (remove the bone). Place the beef in an empty pot, add the crushed seasoning cubes and just enough water to cover the content of the pot. Cook on medium heat for about 25 minutes. Add the salt, washed stock fish and smoked fish, Cook for another 5 minutes. Turn off the burner and set aside.
Step 5: In an empty pot, pour in the palm oil and ground Egusi. On medium heat, stir fry for about 3 minutes till it starts to dry up but don't let it burn. if you like your egusi soup a little bit lumpy, skip frying as shown in this step. Instead, add the ground egusi into the stock and cover the pot(don't add the palmoil)- don't stir. Leave it too cook till the egusi absorbs most of the stock in the pot, swells and cakes up. After this , you can add the palm oil and other ingredients before moving to step 7.
Step 6: Pour in the meat & fish stock in step 4 above, add the pepper & tomato puree including the ground crayfish - Stir and cover the pot. Leave to cook for about 15 minutes till the Egusi swells and cakes up a little. By this time, the oil would have settled on top.
Step 7: Add the chopped ugu leaves, stir and cover the pot. Leave to simmer for 5-7 minutes before turning off the burner. Serve with your favorite "swallow",Boiled white rice or Yam
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