How I make Egusi Soup with Spinach
Egusi soup is one of my favorite soups and I usually have it in the freezer after making a big pot. Sometimes I have to wait for a trip to the African store in order to make it, or I use what I have at home. Of course the basics have to be there, like the egusi itself, but most of the other ingredients can be improvised. This particular recipe is quite simple and traditional, as you'll see.
I cook two types of Egusi, one with bitterleaf and with the egusi boiled in the meat stock, and the other type with a more bland vegetable - ugu, kale, spinach, waterleaf - and I fry the egusi in the oil I'm using. This difference in preparation makes for a change in taste, flavor and texture and I love the versatility it gives me. Below is my recipe for the Spinach Egusi Soup.
3 cups Ground Egusi
5 pounds of your choice of beef, cut
1 pack of cut-up dried cod (okporoko/panla)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large tomato, diced in large pieces
2 tablespoons of ground crayfish
3 teaspoons of ground pepper
1 cup of palm oil
2 cubes of maggi
2 packs of frozen chopped spinach
Salt to taste
1. Put the beef and the dried cod in two cups of water with half the onions, one cube of maggi, some salt and one teaspoon of pepper.
2. Bring to boil and then simmer for 30 minutes or until cooked to your satisfaction. Turn off the heat or take the pot off the cooker.
3. Blend the rest of the pepper, crayfish, onions and diced tomatoes and put aside.
4. In another pot, add your palm oil and heat until lightly smoking.
5. Pour in your ground egusi and stir till completely mixed up.
6. Continue to stir every five to ten minutes for the next 30 minutes. Egusi needs to be thoroughly cooked unless it might upset the tummy when eaten.
7. Add the blended pepper mixture to the egusi and continue to stir till it dries up and the oil begins to separate from the rest of the mixture.
8. Pour in the meat and okporoko, plus stock and stir completely. Add the other cube of maggi, check for salt and then bring to a quick boil.
9. Add the spinach and then reduce the heat. Allow to heat till it begins to gently simmer, and then turn off the heat.
10. Your soup is ready. Eat with a side of poundo, rice or eba. With the quantity of ingredients used in this recipe, you should have some leftover.
By the way, has anyone had a bad experience with egusi that was not properly cooked? I know I have, one times than I care to remember especially when I used to eat out a lot in university, and then in Abuja. Not good memories. But that means that I always ensure to cook mine well like in this recipe.
So what do you think of my spinach egusi? or do you want to wait till you taste it before you score? Who else frys or simmers their egusi when they cook? Are there other vegetables you use in egusi apart from the ones I mentioned? And am I the only person who still uses palm oil in soups?