Of all the Nigerian soups, i don't think there is any as versatile as Egusi Soup. Almost every tribe has their version and it can be cooked so many different ways and with just about any vegetable - spinach, waterleaf, bitterleaf, okazi, atama, etc... I personally can cook Egusi four different ways and with time i will share all of my recipes.
For this one, we will be using a spicy tomato base.
1Kg Goat Meat
1Kg Assorted Meat (Optional)
1 Dried/Smoked Fish - De-boned and cleaned
250Grms Stock Fish - Washed
1 Cup of Ground Crayfish
Chopped Spinach/Water Leaf
2 Cups Ground Egusi (Melon Seed)
2 Large Bell Peppers, 1 Tomato and 1 Onion - Blended
2 - 3 Cups Palm Oil
Salt & Pepper
Step 1 is the most important step. This is where the flavor of your soup is built.
Wash your meat and season with salt, pepper, seasoning cubes and chopped onions and enough water to come up to the level of the meat. You want to also add your stock fish at this time so that it flavors your meat as well and it has enough time to break down.
Tip 1: Do not put too much water in your meat as you will not be able to drain it and you do not want a light soup.
Tip 2: Cook tougher cuts of meat first, when the meat is half cooked then add other cuts such as beef. For those who don't know, if you choose to add shaki (tripe) to your soup, make sure you cook it down first as it gets extremely tough. Even if you are using a pressure cooker, cook tougher cuts first and then add other meat cuts. If you put them all in at the same time, by the time they are cooked, your other cuts of meat would have turned to mush!
When the meat cooks (approximately 40 minutes in a regular pot and 25 if pressure cooked) take the meat out of the pot and add the palm oil. When the oil is heats up to the point where it just begins to smoke, add blended tomatoes, red bell pepper and onion mix and stir fry.
When it has fried down for about 5 minutes, add egusi and fry for 5 minutes until it thickens into a paste.
Turn down the heat from high to medium and add crayfish. Cook for an additional 2 minutes.
Reintroduce meat, meat stock and add dried fish and snail. Cook for 15 minutes or until it has reached your desired thickness, bearing in mind that Egusi Soup continues to thicken as it cools down..
Tip 3: Don't go too far away. Egusi thickens as it cooks so you might have to add a little more water. You also want to stir frequently so that it doesn't become a block at the bottom of the pot and begin to burn.
Wash spinach/waterleaf then chop. Please do not wash your vegetables after cutting. Notice how if you do, the water automatically turns green? That's all of your nutrients and some of the flavor of that vegetable going down the drain.
Taste for seasoning then add vegetables. I never season until I've added my meat stock, if you do, you risk having a change in flavor when you add your stock. Your meal could end up saltier or spicier than planned.
As soon as you stir the pot, turn the heat off so as not to overcook the vegetable. If you ever see vegetables that look brown, they have been cooked to death!
Serve up with your preferred swallow and go have a 6 hour nap!