Egusi Soup | Low Carb Africa

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Published on . Updated on . By Tayo. This post may contain affiliate links. See Disclosure. 23 Comments

Egusi Soup (also known as Egusi Stew) is a rich and savory West African soup made with ground melon seeds and eaten with fufu dishes. It is an amazing soup the whole family will enjoy!

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Egusi soup has a wonderfully complex flavor and is made with traditional West African ingredients and spices. It is a very thick soup and is more of a stew, as you can eat it with rice or other dishes. It is sometimes referred to as Egusi Stew.

🥘 Equipment Used

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To make this egusi soup recipe, you’ll need a few simple tools, like a large pot to prepare the different meats and a blender to break down the vegetables. When preparing the delicious egusi soup, you’ll need a large stockpot and a spoon.

🧾 Ingredients Used

ingredients for egusi soup in white bowls.
  • Egusi seeds: Egusi (melon seeds) are usually sold in African stores. I use roughly 2 cups for this recipe.
  • Meat: African soups are often cooked with an assortment of meat like beef, goat meat, cow feet, or tripe (shaki). For this recipe, I use goat meat and cow feet, but feel free to add any type of meat you want. I use leftover meat to save time.
  • Vegetables: Add tomatoes, bell peppers, onions, habanero peppers, and spinach to your stockpot. The traditional Egusi soup is made with scotch bonnet pepper, but habanero peppers make a great substitute if you’re in the U.S.
  • Red Palm Oil: Palm oil gives a rich, traditional taste to this soup, but you can use olive oil if that is what you have on hand.
  • Smoked catfish: This is made from catfish that has been dried and smoked and is used to flavor a lot of Nigerian dishes. It gives a really unique traditional taste and flavor. You can omit this if you don’t have any.
  • Spices: For Egusi soup, I use ground crayfish, salt, cayenne pepper, and bouillon (Maggi cubes).
  • Broth/Stock: You can use water if you have none, but you will need to add more spices.

🔪 How To Make This Recipe


  1. If using smoked catfish, soak in hot water for 10 minutes.
  2. Break the dried catfish into smaller pieces and remove as many pieces of bones as you can.
  3. Chop the onions and spinach.
  4. Blend the tomatoes, red bell pepper, and habanero pepper. Add as little water as possible.

Make the Egusi Soup

  1. Heat the palm oil on medium heat for a few minutes, then add chopped onions. After it becomes translucent, add your blended tomato and pepper mix and stir.
  2. Add your smoked fish and cook on medium heat for about 10 minutes. Add broth or water and bring to a boil.
  3. Pour the ground egusi seeds into a bowl, add a sprinkling of water, and form them into balls. Then, add the egusi seeds to the soup and stir. Bring to a boil and let it cook for five more minutes.
  4. Add the goat meat, cow feet, crayfish, bouillon, and cayenne pepper. Taste for salt and add some if you need to.
  5. Simmer for 10 minutes on medium-high heat. Add the spinach and leave on low heat for 5 minutes.
  6. Serve with your choice of fufu and enjoy!

🥫 Storing and Reheating

Leftover egusi soup can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 4-5 days. To reheat it, place it in a medium saucepan and warm it up over medium heat until fully warmed. You can also freeze leftover soup for several months in a freezer-safe container. Be sure to leave a 1-inch headspace to allow the soup to expand.

💭 Tips and Variations

  • Different tribes in Nigeria have their own spin on how to add the Egusi seeds. The Yorubas like to chop onions, mix them with the egusi, and form balls before adding them.
  • The spinach should be added at the end because you don’t want it to overcook and become wilted in the soup. Leave on low heat for 5-10 minutes.
  • You can substitute spinach leaves with other Nigerian leafy greens like bitter leaf, ugwu (pumpkin leaves), or basil (scent leaves). In the US, it may be easier to find collard greens.
  • Feel free to add as many green leafy vegetables as you want. You can also add less.
  • Don’t add salt until you have added all the spices. The broth might not require more salt.
  • It’s traditional in many communities to make egusi soup with fermented locust beans (iru).
Egusi soup in a white bowl.

🍽️ What can I eat this recipe with?

Egusi soup and fufu is a popular meal enjoyed by most tribes in NIgeria. You can also eat it with rice. On a low-carb diet, I love to eat egusi soup with:

👩‍🍳 Frequently asked questions

What is Egusi soup made of?

Although there are many different versions of this recipe, Egusi soup is typically made from a mixture of different meats, like goat meat, cow feet, and other cuts, cooked down with a variety of vegetables and egusi seeds. It’s packed with vegetables, flavorful meats, and delicious melon seeds. For spices, I like to use a mixture of ground crayfish, bouillon, salt, and cayenne pepper.

How do you blend egusi seeds?

Whole egusi seeds are usually blended before cooking, and this can be easily done using a food processor, nutribullet blender, or coffee grinder.

You do not add water when blending, but as you blend, you will notice the consistency changes to a somewhat powdery paste. This egusi paste is then used in a variety of recipes. You can buy the actual seeds or buy them pre-ground.

What are egusi seeds?

Egusi is made from the seeds of the white-seed melon that grow primarily in the warm regions of Africa. It is composed of about 50% healthy fats and 30% protein, which makes it perfect for a low-carb or keto diet. They’re the main ingredient in this egusi soup, which is the most popular Nigerian soup!

Egusi seeds are also packed full of essential nutrients like Vitamins A, B1, B2, and C. Egusi is also known as Elegusi or Agushi, depending on what part of Nigeria you are from.

Is Egusi soup healthy?

Incredibly healthy! Egusi soup is made from nutritious whole foods. It’s a great source of protein and has lots of nutritious lower-carb vegetables like peppers, tomatoes, and greens. It’s a wonderfully nutritious meal, even for people who aren’t on a keto diet. 

Is Egusi keto friendly?

Egusi is keto-friendly, as it is low in carbs and high in healthy fats.

📚 Related Recipes

Check out these other delicious African low carb soups:

Okra Soup (Okro Soup)

Efo Riro – Nigerian Spinach Stew

Beniseed Soup (African Sesame Seed Stew)

Ogbono Soup

Cow Foot Soup

Nigerian Egusi soup with low carb fufu.

📖 Recipe

Nigerian egusi soup in a white bowl

Egusi Soup – Nigerian Melon Seed Stew

Egusi Soup (also known as Egusi Stew) is a rich and savory West African soup made with ground melon seeds and eaten with fufu dishes. It is an amazing soup the whole family will enjoy!


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