Sunflower seeds are a great alternative ingredient for those who live outside Nigeria in a place where egusi seeds are not available. Egusi soup, prepared with sunflower seeds is a great alternative for Egusi Soup. It tastes like Egusi Soup prepared with egusi seeds.
Preparing Sunflower Seeds “Egusi” Soup is easy, just replace egusi with sunflower seeds and use the same method of preparing the classic Egusi Soup to achieve similar results.
Ingredients for Sunflower Seeds “Egusi” Soup
2 cups (290g) sunflower seeds
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or to your taste)
1 habanero pepper (or to your taste)
½ cup palm oil
Vegetable: Nigerian pumpkin leaves, spinach or bitter leaves
2 small stock cubes
Salt to taste
4 big cuts of stockfish
2 tablespoons ground crayfish
Notes on the ingredients
You can use all the ingredients you normally use when preparing Egusi Soup. Just replace egusi seeds with sunflower seeds.
You can add meat and fish used for cooking Nigerian soups for fufu meals: shaki (cow tripe), kpomo (cow skin), dry fish, beef, goat meat etc.
It is the same method in cooking your normal egusi soup but with sunflower seeds.
1. Pour the red palm oil into a dry pot and set on the stove to heat. As soon as the oil melts, add the ground egusi and start frying. If the oil is not congealed, add the egusi as soon as the oil is translucent. Mix the ground egusi with oil till every grain of egusi turns yellow.
2. Start stirring the egusi on low to medium heat. Keep stir-frying for about 10 minutes.
3. Add the meat/fish stock (water from cooking the fish and meat) little by little while still stirring the egusi. So you add a bit of the stock, stir-fry for some time, add another, stir-fry and so on. When the stock is exhausted and you feel that the soup is still too thick, you can start adding hot water in the same way till you get the consistency you want. If your choice of vegetable is bitter leaf, add it at this time.
4. Cover the pot and cook for 20 minutes, stirring at intervals. Also, top up the water when necessary. If you don’t stir it, it will burn. It takes 30 minutes to cook egusi properly else the soup will not taste nice to someone with authentic Nigerian taste buds. Also, egusi that is not cooked long enough may cause upset stomach. The egusi is done when you notice that the oil has separated from the mix.
5. Once you are happy that it is done, add the ground crayfish and pepper. Stir and add the Nigerian pumpkin leaves or spinach (alternative).
6. Stir very well and add the cooked stockfish, shaki and meat.
7. Add salt if necessary. If it is too thick, add some water to bring it to a consistency you like.
8. Cover and leave to simmer and it is done!
You can served it with Garri (Eba), Semolina Fufu, Amala, Cassava Fufu, Pounded Yam and the low carb fufu meals.