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Egusi soup with Uziza leaves (Ofe egusi na uziza)

Working on menu development for dobbyssignature could be really exciting although it sometimes feels like i haven't even gotten halfway yet. The good thing is, we've got lots and lots of meals in Nigeria that just seems to go on and on and on and... . Now back to today's menu before i drift off. Which is your favorite combo? Egusi with bitter leaf, egusi with shoko leaves, egusi with pumpkin leaves or egusi with uziza leaves. 
A lot of times, picking the right vegetable to use for egusi soup could really be tasking as each leaf gives the soup it's own unique flavor. Uziza is a spicy aromatic leaf on it's own and just a little can take any soup it's added to from zero to a 100% in no time.

How to make Egusi soup with Uziza leaves (Ofe egusi na uziza)
• 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 yellow pepper "ose nsukka" 
• 1 cup palm oil 
• a handful uziza leaves
• 1 bunch pumpkin leaves - Optional
• 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: Wash the uziza leaves and pumpkin leaves "ugu" (if using) with salt water to kill the germs and rinse with clean water. Chop the leaves and set aside.

Step 3:  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, pepper 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.

Step 4: Add the ground egusi into the boiling pot of stock, add the palm oil and crayfish - mix. Cover the pot and leave to cook further till the egusi swells and thickens. 

Step 5: Add the chopped uziza and 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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