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How to make a spicy Egusi soup and Eba

Updated on June 25, 2015
Arthur Nwokolo profile image

Arthur graduated from Modibbo Adama Federal University, Yola-Nigeria in 2011 and is very passionate about sports, food, and nature.



Africa especially in the west is the home of local delicacy which is usually made from vegetables and leafy fruits commonly found in countries like Nigeria, Ghana, Benin, Togo, Liberia and others. Most local African dishes are soups which are eaten with pastry (or ‘swallows’ as it is usually called) made from pounded yam, cassava or cocoa yam.

But the soup I will be discussing which is the Egusi Soup is made from the fruited pumpkin vegetable leaves usually called 'ugu' and can be predominantly found in Eastern and Western part of Nigeria.

An African woman carrying a pumpkin fruit
An African woman carrying a pumpkin fruit | Source

This Egusi soup originated from the eastern part of Nigeria, West Africa which has over 250 different ethnic groups with about 300 spoken tradition languages thus making it the most popular and commonly eaten soup. It is a tradition in Africa especially in Nigeria where I come from that a woman must know how to make a pot of soup (at least three different types) because we ironically believe that a woman’s place is only the kitchen. Therefore, making a soup is no big deal but making thick, spicy and tasty to the satisfaction of a typical African man is where some young women are found wanting

So for the purpose and the good of any lady (white or black) who wishes to marry an African man, I had to consult an expert in soup making to write down a detailed recipe of how to prepare a thick and spicy Egusi soup served with Eba.

Let us first discuss the meaning and how to prepare this Egusi and Eba.

Egusi: A local name for a fruit called melon and it is that large round fruit usually with a yellow or green skin which grows on climbing plants (Remember this is different from the common Watermelon we use to know…okay?) and has a tiny white seed covered with yellow scales which is dried and peeled off.

Eba: A local name for a dried, grinded, mashed and fried cassava called garri, which has been turned into a pastry by mixing with boiled water.


A pumpkin fruit
A pumpkin fruit

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Cook Time

Prep time: 30 min
Cook time: 50 min
Ready in: 1 hour 20 min
Yields: Serving is for five to six people
Sliced fruited pumpkins leaves
Sliced fruited pumpkins leaves
Fruited pumpkin vegetable leaves (Before and after slicing)
Fruited pumpkin vegetable leaves (Before and after slicing)


  • 2-3 Liters Water
  • 3(1/2) cups Egusi seeds
  • 1 cup Grinded Crayfish, spice
  • 1 teaspoon Salt, for taste
  • 20cl Red Palm oil
  • 1 kilo Meat (Turkey or fish)
  • 2 pieces each Stockfish and dry-fish
  • 2 pieces of Maggi or Knorr cubes
  • 2 teaspoons of grinded pepper, for spicy taste
  • 2 pieces Onions
  • 500 grams fresh fruited pumpkin vegetable leaves (or bitterleaf ), for fibre
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Ingredients for Egusi soup preparationGrinded Egusi seed
Ingredients for Egusi soup preparation
Ingredients for Egusi soup preparation
Grinded Egusi seed
Grinded Egusi seed | Source


Grinded Egusi seed (Before and after cooking)
Grinded Egusi seed (Before and after cooking)


  1. First Stage: Wash the fruited pumpkin vegetable leaves (or bitterleaf locally called ‘Onugbu’) properly well with water and salt or boil for ten minutes to remove bitter taste in case one decides to use bitter leaf; (pictured above) Parboil the meat (fish or turkey) with some spicy ingredients (like thyme, little onions and pepper) added to it for ten minutes, this will help to improve the taste and softens the meat. Using hot water, soak the stockfish and the dryfish into the bowl of water to remove dirts, sands and softens it. Then place it aside
  2. Measure three and half cups of dried Egusi (melon) seed, grind with a hand grinding machine and keep aside in a plate
  3. Pour in small quantity (2 liters) of water into a cooking pot and allow it to boil;
  4. Pour in the grinded Egusi seeds into the same pot and allow it to cook for 10 to 15 minutes before stirring; (NB: The other method of preparing Egusi involves heating the red oil and not allowing to bleach before adding the mashed Egusi, but most people make mistakes at this juncture and some other people hate or allergic to fried food).
  5. Stir the soup occasionally with a soup ladle for proper mixing until it becomes thick and forms a crumb (as pictured above).
  6. Add another little quantity of water and allow it to boil for about five minutes before adding the 20cl of red palm oil and continue to stir to avoid burning.
  7. Take the parboiled meat, fish or turkey and together with the soaked stock-fish and dryfish and pour it into the pot of cooking soup and allow boiling for ten to fifteen minutes,
  8. Then it is now time to add the already washed and sliced fruited pumpkin vegetables allowing it to boil for just five minutes, then simmer for ten minutes but don’t forget to taste for salt and pepper. Ho la la! Our delicious and of course palatable pot of spicy Egusi soup is ready.
  9. For Eba :Measure and pour the amount of water needed into a kettle or another pot and allow it to boil;
  10. Then transfer the hot water into a clean bowl and fetch the needed quantity of powdered garri. Gradually pour the garri into the hot water until it covers the bowl and swollen. Cover the bowl for about ten minutes and stir the content
  11. OR Transfer the hot water into a mortar, fetch the needed quantity of the powdered garri and pour gradually into it.
  12. Allow for about five minutes and pound using the pestle till the pastry is soft; your Eba is now ready.

Video on how to make Egusi soup

A foreigner enjoying Egusi soup with Eba
A foreigner enjoying Egusi soup with Eba

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Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 325.1g
Calories 464
Calories from Fat162
% Daily Value *
Fat 18 g28%
Saturated fat 3 g15%
Unsaturated fat 0 g
Carbohydrates 12 g4%
Sugar 3 g
Fiber 3 g12%
Protein 45 g90%
Cholesterol 93 mg31%
Sodium 1815 mg76%
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

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