We are so excited to partner with Paul L. Foster School of Medicine's Black Women in Medicine group (Instagram: @BWIM_PLFSOM) with a two part series called "The Cookout" to celebrate Black History Month. In the first part we explored Southern Soul Food with a fried catfish recipe. In this second part we explore African cuisine with a traditional Nigerian dish that just so happens to be trending on TikTok!
Egusi soup features 3 main ingredients: Egusi, meat, and a leafy vegetable. Egusi is a West African name for seeds of plants including squash, melons, and gourds. This recipe features blended pumpkin seeds which gives a great creamy texture. Traditionally this soup is made with assorted meats including lamb, beef, goat, fish, shrimp, and crayfish. We decided to use chicken as it is easily available. The last main ingredient is a leafy vegetable such as spinach, or kale.
African soups are typically eaten with a starch such as yams, cassava, or plantain. When the flour is pounded with hot water it forms a unique stretchy substance (similar to mashed potatoes or gnocchi) called Fufu. Fufu originated in Ghana and is also eaten throughout the Caribbean. African food, similar to Indian food, is traditionally eaten with your hands. The fufu is perfect for picking up a bit of soup for each bite!
We really hope you enjoy this dish and join us in celebrating Black History Month! Recipe adapted from Nanaaba's Kitchen.
Cook & Prep Time: 90 minutes
six chicken thighs and six drumsticks
Chicken rub: 1 tablespoon garlic powder, 2 chicken bouillon stock cubes, 1 tablespoon onion powder, 1 tablespoon paprika, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1/2 tablespoon salt, 1/2 tablespoon black pepper, 2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion chopped
1 tablespoon ginger paste
1 tablespoon garlic paste / minced garlic
4 tablespoons ground cray fish or can substitute with ground dried herrings
2 habanero chilis
2 small red bell peppers (seeded and blended)
4 tomatoes (seeded and blended)
2.5 cups green pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
2 cups vegetable broth
1 large box of fresh spinach
1. Clean the chicken pieces and apply the spice rub as listed above.
2. Line baking trays with aluminum foil and some olive oil. Place all chicken pieces on the tray and broil in the oven for 12 minutes or until slightly browned. It's okay if the meat is not cooked all the way through as it will boil in the soup later.
3. Chop 1 yellow onion and set aside.
4. Cut 2 red bell peppers, and 4 tomatoes. Remove the seeds from both. Then place in blender until fully blended and set aside.
5. Once chicken is done, add the meat to a large pot (the biggest one you have!) and add a bit of the juices from the tray as well to conserve the flavor.
6. Add the chopped onions to the pot. Add the garlic paste and ginger paste.
7. Then add the ground cray fish or smoked herrings. Add 2 habanero chilis. Feel free to open one for more spice!
8. Add the blended bell peppers and tomatoes to the pot. You can also add 0.5-1 cup of water at this point. Then let sit on medium heat with lid on for 10 minutes.
9. Now chicken should be completely cooked and you can taste for salt and add more accordingly.
10. Let sit for a few minutes with the lid off while you blend the pumpkin seeds with the vegetable broth. You can add more water or broth until you get a silky paste consistency shown below:
11 . Add the blended pumpkin seeds to the pot and stir gently.
12 . Cook on low heat with lid on for 15 minutes.
13 . Now stir and add the spinach. Taste for salt one more time.
14. Lastly, add a few table spoons of palm oil. This gives a good color and flavor.
15. Now time to make fufu. First mix the fufu flour with room temp water in a pot with 1:2 ratio. Ex. 1 cup fufu and 2 cups water.
16 . Then place over pot over low heat and continuously stir till a dough forms. Now you will add hot water to steam the fufu for 10 minutes. (poke holes in the fufu to better steam).
17 . As you continuously stir with a spatula, you may need to add more water to get the proper gooey/stretchy consistency. There is no formula, just eyeballing how much water to add. It is ready once you can form a ball without sticking to your fingers.
We are so happy how this turned out! This was the first time we tried Egusi soup and we loved it! It was so fun using these new ingredients and we plan to experiment more with ground crayfish. The fufu was probably the hardest part to make and the reason we had to give this dish a 5-star difficulty rating. The fufu consistency can change quickly and you have to keep watching how much water to add. In addition the continuous stirring requires some upper body strength! But once formed, it was well worth it! The number of aprons we give this recipe is