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Egusi soup recipe with Bitter leaf

Egusi soup (Melon Soup) is Unarguably the most popular Nigerian soup everyone loves. It's quite versatile too as it's prepared by every single tribe in Nigeria though the methods of preparation might differ slightly. No matter how it is prepared, the end result still remains the same good old tasty soup. In the north it's known as Miyan Gushi, in the east it is known as Ofe egusi, in the west it is known as efo-elegusi. It could also be prepared with different leaves such as Ugu leaf "fluted pumpkin 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. 
One of the reasons why i love preparing Egusi soup with bitter leaf is, with bitter leaf the soup tends to last longer without the taste changing while being refrigerated but when prepared with ugu leaves, it's best eaten within a time frame. Also, bitter leaf makes it fingerlicking good. 

How to make Egusi soup with bitter leaf
• Prep Time:  30 minutes
• Total Time: Over 45 minutes
• Serves :       6

• 2 Cups Melon Seeds "Egusi"
• 600g Red beef
• 1 medium sized Stock fish
• 2 Medium Smoked fish
• 1/2 Cooking spoon Cray fish
• 5 chili pepper "Shombo"
• 3 red scotch bonnet pepper "Ata rodo" 
• 1 medium sized onion
• 1½ Cup palm oil
• 1 Cup Bitter leaf - Pre-washed
• 3 Seasoning cubes
• Salt to taste

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: Bitter leaf is always sold pre-washed in the Nigerian market. To be on the safer side and to avoid making your soup extremely bitter, it's always advisable to Boil and re-wash the already washed bitter leaf.
Place the pre-washed bitter leaf in an empty pot and add some water. Cook on medium heat for 10mins. Strain and rinse about 2-3 times more. Squeeze out the excess water and set aside for later use. Please taste it before adding to the soup (There's no remedy to Bitter Egusi soup - If you've got, please share below)

Step 3: Wash the chili pepper and scotch bonnet. Dice or 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 blended pepper puree and Chopped onion (you could also blend the onion), 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. 

Step 6: Pour in the meat & fish stock in step 4 above, add 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 washed bitter leaf, stir and cover the pot. Leave to simmer for 5-7 minutes before turning off the burner. 

Serve with any "Swallow", Yam or Rice.

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  1. i don't like smooth egusi soup and I know most Nigerians don't so am gonna share my secret for getting those lumps in your egusi soup. All you need is a non stick frying pan (yes invest in it if you like lumpy egusi soup).

    All you have to do is to add little water to your egusi to form a paste and fry it in palm oil in YOUR NON STICK FRYING PAN until it looks dry and cakes then add to your meat stock and see how your perfect egusi lumps get formed oh and you might even need to break up some of the lumps it is that perfect.

    By the way it will also make you use just little oil. Try it and thank me now, Cheers!!!

    1. Well Anonymous 10.43am lumpy egusi soup is your choice. Not every Nigerian is a fan of it. I love the egusi soup in the picture above. Good for rice etc. I hate those lumpy ones.

    2. Lovely Egusi soup Dobby and like Anonymous 2:35pm, I am not a huge fan of the lumpy ones but I cook them all for variety.

      Well done!

    3. @Anonymous10:43 am: That's True, not everyone likes lumpy egusi but thanks for the tip.
      Thank you Matsecooks & Anonymous2:35 pm

    4. You don't even need to fry the egusi in oil to get it lumpy. Just mix the egusi with water and diced onion.(you need hard paste ) Make a small balls of egusi, drop them one at a time inside the boiling sauce ( mixture of oil, pepper and other condiments). Cover and allow to cook for 15 minutes on medium heat. You will get your delicious lumpy egusi soup. That's the way we do it in Okunland Kogi State with hot pounded yam.

    5. Thanks for the tip Anon.

  2. I love this soup. Well done Dobby.

  3. Well done Dobs. Ds looks nice. Aldo i make lumpy egusi but not everyone likes it. So wateva ur choice cos der r diff methods of cooking egusi soup. I don't fry mine...

    1. That's true Quin, there are several methods of egusi preparation and they all turn out good.

  4. O! dear..Are you free Dobby? Can I be your man. I believe you are special and if you pass I will make you my queen.

    1. lol! Hopefully i'd pass :)

    2. And may I request your Majesty`s special grant to your correspondence, albeit rather unofficially ..

  5. Really nice, love me some Egusi soup. Dobby please you don't need to pre cook the bitter leaf before washing, just rewash as many times as you like(3 times seems to be enough for me) and don't stir the pot when you add the leaves until you're about to take it off the heat.

    1. You're right Bunny PJ, Washing severally does the job it's just that Boiling makes it and easier and faster precaution against getting a bitter Egusi Soup.

  6. Love your blog...Another method to get lumpy egusi soup which I learnt from my grandma is to blend onions and the egusi together, and mold it into a tiny ball, just add it to the egusi soup when it almost ready.

    1. Thanks for the tip Anon.

    2. Bi carbonate of soda (used for baking) will reduce d level of bitterness in a soup.

  7. Hi Dobby, this looks so yummy, I can't wait to try out your egusi soup! Quick question though, I like my egusi a bit bitter (not too much, just a slight hint). If I'm using bitterleaf as my only vegetable like you've done (I usually use ugwu and a bit of bitterleaf), and still want to retain a hint of bitterness in my egusi, how many times would you advise I wash the leaf before adding it to my soup (assuming I skip the prevailing step)?

  8. Hi Dobby, this looks so yummy, I can't wait to try out your egusi soup! Quick question though, I like my egusi a bit bitter (not too much, just a slight hint). If I'm using bitterleaf as my only vegetable like you've done (I usually use ugwu and a bit of bitterleaf), and still want to retain a hint of bitterness in my egusi, how many times would you advise I wash the leaf before adding it to my soup (assuming I skip the preboiling step)?

    1. i really can't say because it all depends on the level of bitterness in the first place. What i'd advice you to do is to taste it after every wash and once it gets to the level you want, you stop washing.

  9. I never fry mine I just make it in a fine paste then when everything is ready. I use spoon and scoop and add the egusi bit by bit in the put like how u do for egg stew then cover the pot, is it a wrong method just curious.

    1. Hi tracy. No it's not a wrong method at all. Egusi can be prepared in various ways and the method you just described is very valid.


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