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.