How to Prepare the Perfect Egusi Soup at Home

Egusi is a West African name for the seeds of plants like squash, melons, and gourds that, when dried and ground, become a staple ingredient in many West African dishes.

Particularly, in Nigerian culture, egusi is popular with pounded yam. These seeds are rich in fat and protein, and add these essential nutrients into West African Cuisine.

Nigerian Egusi Soup is a soup thickened with ground melon seeds and contains leafy and other vegetables.

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It is one of the most popular soups prepared by most tribes in Nigeria with considerable variation and often eaten with dishes like Pounded Yams.  Prepare it with goat, beef, fish, or shellfish!


  • 1 cup blended onions (about 3- 5 and fresh chilies, to taste)
  • 4 cups egusi (melon seeds, ground or milled)
  • 1⁄2 – 1 cup palm oil
  • 2 teaspoons fresh Une (Iru, locust beans)
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Ground crayfish (to taste)
  • 7– 8 cups stock
  • Cooked Meat & fish (quantity and variety to personal preference)
  • 2 cups cut pumpkin leaves
  • 1 cup waterleaf (cut)
  • 3 tablespoons bitter leaf (washed)


Prepare the egusi paste:

Blend egusi seeds and onion mixture. Set aside.

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  • In a large pot, heat the palm oil on medium for a minute and then add the Une.
  • Slowly add the stock and set on low heat to simmer.
  • Scoop teaspoon size balls of the egusi paste mixture into the stock. Be sure to keep ball shape.
  • Leave to simmer for 20 – 30 minutes so the balls cook through.
  • Add the meat and fish and other bits which you’d like to use.
  • Add cut-up pumpkin leaves.
  • Add the waterleaf.
  • Stir and put a lid on the pot and allow to cook for 7–10 minutes, till the leaves wilt.
  • Add the bitter leaf.  Leave the lid off while the cooking finishes for another 5-10 minutes.
  • Stir, check seasoning and adjust accordingly.
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