Authentic Nigerian Egusi Soup Recipe with Pumpkin Seeds and Beef

Egusi Soup

Authentic Nigerian Egusi Soup Recipe with Pumpkin Seeds and Beef
Region / culture: Nigeria | Preparation time: 20 minutes | Cooking time: 45 minutes | Servings: 6


Egusi Soup
Egusi Soup

Egusi soup is a popular West African dish that is made with ground melon seeds, also known as egusi or pumpkin seeds. This hearty and flavorful soup is often enjoyed with pounded yam or other starchy sides.


Egusi soup has been a staple in West African cuisine for centuries. The dish originated from the Yoruba people in Nigeria and has since spread to other countries in the region. It is traditionally made with a combination of meat, fish, vegetables, and spices, making it a versatile and satisfying meal.


How to prepare

  1. Place egusi (pumpkin seeds) in a blender and blend for 30 to 40 seconds or until the mixture becomes a powdery paste.
  2. Set it aside.
  3. Also blend the crayfish, ogiri, habanero pepper, and half of the onion, then set it aside.
  4. Mince the other half of the onion and cut the meat into bite-size cubes.
  5. Season the meat to taste. In a large pan, heat oil over medium-high heat for 4 to 5 minutes.
  6. Add the minced onion and sauté for 2–3 minutes or until it turns brown, then add the crayfish, pepper, and ogiri blend.
  7. Cook for 5 minutes.
  8. Then add the already cooked meat with stock.
  9. Add the blended egusi, stir, and reduce the heat to low-medium.
  10. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  11. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until the meat is tender.
  12. Add spinach and continue to simmer for 10 minutes more.
  13. Optionally, add some fresh, chopped basil to increase the flavor.

Pounded yam

  1. Heat water, add pounded yam powder, and reduce the heat. Mix until you make a firm dough.
  2. Learn all about egusi soup and how to cook a delicious egusi soup at


  • Substitute goat meat with beef, chicken, or fish for a different flavor.
  • Add okra or bitter leaf for a unique twist on the traditional recipe.
  • Experiment with different spices and seasonings to customize the taste to your liking.

Cooking Tips & Tricks

Be sure to blend the egusi seeds thoroughly to achieve a smooth paste for the soup.

- Adjust the amount of pepper to suit your spice preference.

- Adding fresh basil at the end of cooking can enhance the flavor of the soup.

- For a richer flavor, use homemade beef stock instead of store-bought broth.

Serving Suggestions

Egusi soup is traditionally served with pounded yam, fufu, or rice. You can also enjoy it with a side of steamed vegetables or plantains.

Cooking Techniques

Be sure to simmer the soup on low heat to allow the flavors to meld together.

- Stir the soup occasionally to prevent sticking and ensure even cooking.

- Adjust the consistency of the soup by adding more stock or water as needed.

Ingredient Substitutions

If you can't find egusi seeds, you can use pumpkin seeds or ground melon seeds as a substitute.

- Palm oil can be replaced with vegetable oil or coconut oil for a lighter flavor.

Make Ahead Tips

Egusi soup can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat gently on the stovetop before serving.

Presentation Ideas

Garnish the soup with fresh basil leaves or chopped parsley for a pop of color. Serve in a decorative bowl with a side of pounded yam for an authentic presentation.

Pairing Recommendations

Egusi soup pairs well with a crisp green salad or a side of steamed plantains. For a complete meal, serve with a side of jollof rice or fried plantains.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Store leftover egusi soup in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat gently on the stovetop or in the microwave until heated through.

Nutrition Information

Calories per serving

Each serving of egusi soup contains approximately 400 calories, making it a satisfying and nourishing meal.


Egusi soup is a low-carb dish, with approximately 10 grams of carbohydrates per serving.


Egusi soup is a rich source of healthy fats, with palm oil and pumpkin seeds providing essential fatty acids.


This soup is high in protein, thanks to the goat meat and crayfish included in the recipe.

Vitamins and minerals

Egusi soup is packed with vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A, iron, and calcium from the spinach and other ingredients.


This recipe contains nuts (pumpkin seeds) and shellfish (crayfish), so be cautious if you have allergies to these ingredients.


Egusi soup is a nutrient-dense dish that provides a balance of carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, and minerals for a well-rounded meal.


Egusi soup is a flavorful and nutritious dish that is perfect for a comforting meal. With a rich blend of spices, meats, and vegetables, this West African classic is sure to satisfy your taste buds. Enjoy it with pounded yam or your favorite side for a complete dining experience.

How did I get this recipe?

I remember the joy I felt when I first stumbled upon this recipe for Egusi Soup. It was many years ago, when I was just a young girl living in Nigeria. My grandmother, bless her soul, was the one who introduced me to this delicious dish that has since become a staple in my cooking repertoire.

I can still vividly recall the day she took me to the bustling market in our village. The air was filled with the sounds of vendors haggling over prices and the enticing smells of spices and fresh produce. As we walked through the narrow aisles, my grandmother pointed out various ingredients, explaining their uses and teaching me about the importance of quality and freshness in cooking.

It was in the midst of this chaotic marketplace that we came across a stall selling melon seeds, or egusi as they are commonly known in Nigeria. My grandmother's eyes lit up with excitement as she picked up a handful of the small, white seeds and examined them closely. She explained to me that egusi was a key ingredient in many traditional Nigerian dishes, including the beloved Egusi Soup.

After purchasing a bag of the seeds, we made our way back to her modest kitchen, where she proceeded to show me how to prepare the soup. She started by toasting the egusi seeds in a dry pan until they were fragrant and slightly browned. Then, she ground them into a fine powder using a mortar and pestle, adding a bit of water to form a thick paste.

Next, she heated some palm oil in a large pot and sautéed onions, garlic, and peppers until they were soft and translucent. She then added in the egusi paste, stirring it continuously to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Once the paste had cooked down and thickened, she poured in some rich, homemade chicken stock and simmered the soup for a few hours to allow the flavors to meld together.

As the soup bubbled away on the stovetop, my grandmother taught me about the importance of patience and attention to detail in cooking. She explained that true mastery of a recipe came not from following a set of instructions, but from understanding the ingredients and techniques involved and adapting them to suit one's own taste and preferences.

When the soup was finally ready, my grandmother ladled out steaming bowls for us to enjoy. The rich, nutty flavor of the egusi seeds combined with the spicy peppers and savory chicken broth was unlike anything I had ever tasted before. I was hooked from the first spoonful, and I knew that I had stumbled upon a recipe that would become a cherished part of my culinary repertoire for years to come.

Over the years, I have continued to make Egusi Soup for my family and friends, sharing the recipe and passing down the traditions that my grandmother instilled in me. Each time I prepare this dish, I am transported back to that bustling marketplace in Nigeria, where I first discovered the joy of cooking and the power of sharing a delicious meal with loved ones.

As I sit here now, writing down the story of how I learned to make Egusi Soup, I am filled with gratitude for the memories and experiences that have shaped me into the cook I am today. My grandmother may no longer be with us, but her spirit lives on in every pot of soup I make, and I know that she would be proud of the legacy she has left behind. And so, I will continue to cook and share this beloved recipe, passing it down to future generations and keeping alive the traditions that have brought so much joy and nourishment to my life.


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