1.0 Egusi Soup Recipe
The Nigerian Egusi soup, prepared with melon seeds, is prepared by most tribes in Nigeria in many different ways. It is known as Miyan Gushi in Hausa, Ofe Egusi in Igbo and Efo Elegusi in Yoruba.
Egusi soup is also one of the most popular soups, if not the most popular for all Nigerians and non-Nigerians that like Nigerian fufu recipes.
- 600g Egusi (Melon) seeds
- 2 cooking spoons red palm oil
- Beef: Best cut and Shaki (cow tripe)
- Fish: Dry Fish and Stock Fish
- 3 tablespoons ground crayfish
- Pepper and Salt (to taste)
- Vegetable: Nigerian pumpkin leaves, spinach or bitter leaves
- 3 small stock cubes
- 1 Dawadawa or Iru(traditional locust bean seasoning: optional)
Before you cook Egusi Soup
Before preparing the soup, soak the dry fish for about half an hour. If you are using the very tough stockfish, boil it for 20 minutes and leave in the pot with the hot water to soak for about an hour. If using the softer stockfish, you can just soak them in cool water till you can break them apart with your hands.
When the fish and stockfish are soft, debone and break them into sizeable chunks.
Much closer to your cooking time, grind the egusi with a dry mill. Grind the crayfish and the dry pepper separately and set aside. Wash the vegetable to be used. Cut into tiny pieces.
Boil the shaki, stock fish and dry fish in 1 litre of water with the stock cubes till they are well done. First sign of a done shaki is that the cuts will start curling on itself.
Wash the beef to be used for the soup, add it to the pot and cook on medium heat till done.
There are two main methods of cooking egusi soup. These we will call oil before egusi (Fried Method) and egusi before oil (Caking Method).
On this page, I will discuss the Caking Method.
Egusi Before Oil (Caking Method)
This method produces a healthier egusi soup as there is no frying involved. It requires less oil too.
- In this method, as soon as the shaki, fish and meat are done, remove them from the stock (water used in cooking the meat and fish) and place in a different pot or plate.
- Add the ground egusi to the stock and stir. If the stock from cooking your meat and fish is not enough to give you a medium consistency, add some water to get the consistency of evaporated milk or a bit thicker. It will not be as smooth as evaporated milk though.
- Cover and cook till the egusi cakes. Stir and add a little bit more water. watch it closely so that it does not burn.
- Repeat step 3, adding only a small quantity of water at a time. After about 25 minutes, you will notice the clear egusi oil coming to the surface of the soup.
- Add the red palm oil and bitter leaves (if it is your choice of vegetable), pepper and salt to taste and cook for about 7 minutes. You know it is good to continue when the palm oil and egusi forms a good blend of light yellow colour.
- Add the cooked meat and fish. If using pumpkin leaves or any other soft vegetable, add it at this time and stir the soup.
- Add salt to your taste, stir and leave to simmer for 2 minutes maximum.
- Turn off the heat. Leave to stand for about 5 minutes before serving.
The egusi soup is ready to be served with Garri (Eba), Semolina Fufu, Amala, Cassava Fufu or Pounded Yam.
2.0 Pilau Recipe
1 Large Onion(Finely Chopped)
2-3 Garlic cloves(Crushed and chopped)
Small piece Root Ginger (Chopped)
3 Tbs Pilau Masala(or according to taste)
1/2 Kg Boneless Beef(tender and cut in small pieces)
4 Tomatoes(diced very small) Blended gives better results
2 Cups Rice
3 Cups Hot Water
Tomato paste(optional) Do not use together with tomatoes(its not necessary)
- Cook the onion and ginger on a medium heat with a suitable pan/pot and allow to brown. The browning is the trick to a nice pilau.
- Add the meat and cook till its almost ready while pan/pot is covered. It should take about 3 min if the meat is tender and if not keep cooking till the meat is softened.
- Add the pilau masala powder, salt and stir. If the meat has dried out, add a little water to prevent the meat from sticking.
- Allow to cook then add the finely diced tomato. (If you can blend the tomatoes it would give you better results).
- When using diced tomatoes add a little water to ensure the tomato is cooked and you have a thick sauce before you add the rice.
- Add the rice and stir and ensure it's all mixed up.
- Add the water. Cover and bring to boil. Reduce the heat and allow to simmer and slowly cook while covered.
- After about 5 minutes of cooking, give the rice a stir and cover. Repeat this while the rice is still wet and its just to ensure all the rice cooks evenly and doesn't stick on the bottom.
- Rice is cooked after about 13 minutes depending on the rice type and if it has dried up before its cooked, add a little water to steam it till cooked but not mashy!
Use a long grain rice but not necessarily and expensive one. If you get this right you should be able to enjoy your pilau and since it is a dry dish by itself, complement it with a salad on the side
3.0 Groundnut Stew
3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
2 medium onions, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 can tomatoes (28 ounces)
1 can black beans (14 ounces)
1 teaspoon salt
1–2 teaspoons red pepper (to taste)
¾ cup chunky peanut butter
- Measure oil into a large saucepan and heat over medium-high heat.
- Add onions and carrots and sauté, stirring with a wooden spoon, until vegetables are softened.
- Add green pepper and continue cooking a about 5 more minutes.
- Stir in canned tomatoes with liquid (do not drain them), canned black beans, salt, and red pepper. Lower heat, cover, and simmer about 15 minutes.
- Stir in peanut butter and continue simmering, covered for 10 more minutes. Serve hot.
4.0 Jollof Rice Recipe
3 cigar cups | 750g long grain parboiled rice
Tomato Stew 500 mls
Chicken (whole chicken, drumsticks or chicken breast)
Pepper and salt (to taste)
2 medium onions
3 Knorr cubes
2 teaspoons thyme
Before you cook Jollof Rice
Prepare the tomato stew.
If you will use whole chicken then wash and cut it into pieces. Cook with the thyme, Knorr cubes and 2 bulbs of onions (chopped). The cooking time depends on the type of chicken. The rooster or cockerel cooks much faster than the hen but the hen is definitely tastier. When done, grill it in an oven. You may also fry it. This is to give it a golden look which is more presentable especially if you have guests for dinner.
Parboil the rice using the method detailed in parboiling rice for cooking jollof rice. Rinse the parboiled rice and put in a sieve to drain.
- Pour the chicken stock and the tomato stew into a sizeable pot and leave to boil.
- Add the drained parboiled rice, salt and pepper to taste. The water level should be the same level of the rice. This is to ensure that all the water dries up by the time the rice is cooked.
- Cover the pot and leave to cook on low to medium heat. This way the rice does not burn before the water dries up.
- If you parboiled the rice as described at parboiling rice for cooking jollof rice, the rice should be done by the time the water is dry. Taste to confirm. If not, you will need to add more water and reduce the heat to prevent burning. Keep cooking till done.
Serve with Fried Plantain, Nigerian Moi Moi, Nigerian Salad or Coleslaw.
You can spice up this recipe by adding 2 well known vegetables to arrive at what we refer to as Mixed Vegetables Jollof Rice.
6.0 Cassava Leaves - Liberian
2 cups of Palm oil
4 bunches of cassava leaf
2 chicken bouillon cubes
*Handful of bitter balls (county pepper) to taste
½ pound of fresh meat
1 large onion
½ cup or 1 dried fish
½ cup dry meat
Beat and grind cassava leaf with peppers and onion. Put dry fish, and fresh meat in a pot of water and Season with salt to taste. Let boil until water is completely dry, then, add palm oil and stir cassava leaf in for oil to go all the way through. Let simmer for 10 minutes and serve.