Egusi Soup (with lumps) – a highly indulgent exotic soup popular in most West African countries made with egusi seeds added with chicken, crayfish and smoked fish or depending on one’s personal preference. A soup that is hearty and oozing with earthy flavors!
Each household have their own way of making egusi soup more appealing!
A number of people add diced tomatoes; some add crayfish (dried shrimps), some include smoked fish and some even include fresh vegetables…
My favorite ingredient….. Garlic…
Yes, garlic in combination to the aforementioned ingredients including Maggie cubes for a sumptuous egusi soup.
Egusi aka Egwusi soup is an exotic soup that is cooked, in various parts of West Africa and goes under different aliases. Egusi is a wild member of the gourd family, with very dry skin and bitter flesh. It looks the same as watermelon seeds but tastes quite differently. They are extremely nutritious- high in protein and oil. They are often used in West Africa as a thickening agent in soups and add depth to most soups.
In Cameroon, it is sometimes used to make Egusi pudding; a highly addictive pudding. These seeds can only be purchased in an African store or online, but if you are in West Africa, they are available in most markets. Store it in the refrigerator and it will stay fresh for more than a year.
In this recipe, I sauté stewing chicken with; onions, tomatoes, garlic and crayfish. Smoked fish is optional, however, it adds some smokiness to the meal .Then I throw in ground egusi and finally , stir in some frozen chopped spinach . You can use any fresh greens that you have.
Most people love having chunks of egusi in their soup. In order to achieve this consistency, a tiny bit of water/stock is added to the ground egusi. Then carefully drop the egusi lumps into the sauce without any stirring until lumps are formed. During this process there should be very little stirring happening to the pot until the lumps have been fully formed.
Serve egusi soup to accompany and fufu or along with any starch (plantains, coco, yams or rice).
Watch How To Make It
Egusi soup (with lumps)
- 2-3 pounds chicken cut into pieces I used stewing chicken
- 1/ 2 onions
- ½ cup oil
- 3 garlic cloves , (1 tablespoon minced garlic)
- 2 tomatoes
- 2 cups ground egusi
- ½ cup crayfish
- 2 cups spinach , I used frozen spinach
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika (optional)
- 1 cup of shredded smoked fish (optional)
- In medium–sized sauce pan boil stewing chicken seasoned with salt( garlic salt ), smoked paprika, pepper , onions until tender approximately 45 -50 minutes. You can shorten this process in half by using a pressure cooker. Reserve chicken stock
- While chicken is cooking, slice tomatoes, onions and mince the garlic.
- Heat the oil in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions. Sauté the onion until it is translucent, about 5 minutes. Season with salt, and pepper, to taste.
- Stir in the tomatoes with their juices, garlic, and crayfish. Add the stewing chicken pieces; press to submerge. Add a cup of chicken stock Bring to a simmer.
- In a bowl add a cup of ground egusi mix with 2 tablespoon of stock until you get a thick mixture. Using a spoon scoop up the egusi and place in the pot of sauce and chicken
- Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer gently uncovered until egusi forms a solid ball. Then add the remaining egusi and keep simmering on medium-heat. Add about a cup or more of chicken stock to desired consistency
- Add spinach , let it simmer for about 2 minutes
- Serve warm with plantains or accompaniment of choice.