Garden Egg Egusi Soup


I recently travelled to my father's native town and it was really exciting for me as I haven't been there in a long time. I also get quite excited about the fact that I get to explore some local delicacies and discover local food ingredients.

My mum often shares with me about the different sorts of food they had when she was growing up, and how they got the very best, and freshest ingredients, and also how they creatively cooked their food.

During this trip, she made me something which she had never made for me (or my siblings) before. She made egusi soup with a difference, and I totally loved it. The idea to make this soup came about when in the local market, she spotted some indigenous eggplants aka aubergines. I was totally delighted o know that Nigeria has its own specie of aubergines...! These were the white variety (not purple), and they are locally called ikan doro.

So she made a base sauce with melon seeds (egusi) and then at the last stage of cooking, the aubergines were cut into chunks and added. Simmered and served with the real pounded yam... and my goodness, it was delicious....no need for meat. A totally vegetarian Nigerian dish.


So after a few weeks, my mother-in-law came to visit, and when she spotted some garden eggs being sold in the market, she immediately asked me to get her some, and that she had a special reci[e to share. Well, surprise, surprise, she made the same soup... And again, it was delicious served hot with gari (eba)

I was delighted that she decided to make this soup because I was able to watch her closely to learn her recipe.

Why I particularly love this soup is, it is packed with nutrients...! every ingredient in this soup is beneficial to your health. And because there is no real need to include any red meat, as is usually the case with making egusi soup, it is a dish you can have when you are trying to rest your digestive system from the tedious process of digesting meat. The fact is the garden eggs adequately substitutes for meat. No need for meat, however for this recipe, my mother in law added some smoked dried fish, which contributed some great taste and flavours.

So when you are looking for a delicious and healthy dish, or you want to go meat free for a while, then give this dish a try. Its versatile and can be served with anything you fancy really, rice, pounded yam, eba, amala... the list is endless.



What you need
  • Egusi (ground)
  • Palm oil (My mother in law used avocado oil because she is so health conscious)
  • Ground peppers and onions
  • Stock
  • Dried smoked catfish
  • Seasoning and salt taste
  • Locust beans
  • Ground smoke prawns
  • Ugu leaves (shredded)
  • Garden eggs (aubergine can be used as an alternative)

What to do
  1. Start by adding the stock into a pot then add the shredded boned and washed catfish. 
  2. Add the ground peppers and onions. Allow to boil. Now in a separate bowl, mix the ground egusi with some water and add to the other ingredients in the pot. Stir well. 
  3. Cover pot and cook for about 5 minutes. 
  4. Add the well-rinsed locust beans, stir and taste. Adjust taste as you prefer with some salt and/or seasoning cubes. Stir well. 
  5. Add the shredded ugu leaves and finally add the garden egg chunks. Drizzle some oil over and stir well. Add a generous amount of ground smoked prawns. 
  6. Allow to cook for another 3-5 minutes...its ready


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