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Ègúsí Soup

There are much more convenient means of making ẹ̀gúsí soup. The seeds can be bought shelled, and the stew base is a step to complete ahead. I have learned to approach the task with a delicate hand: I stir as little as possible while the soup is cooking because doing so encourages the ground seeds to clump up. With a light touch, this soup rewards you with a riot of flavor and textures.

Ègúsí Soup excerpted from My Everyday Lagos by Yewande Komolafe.

Ègúsí Soup

Yewande Komolafe
NOTE: Full of healthy fats, ègúsí seeds are the nutritious and filling base ingredient for this soup. Ègúsí seeds are a great source of protein, so this soup can be served with or without meat. Raw, shelled pumpkin seeds will make an adequate substitute if ègúsí seeds are not available.
Ata gígé is a coarse puree of red bell peppers and onions, with Scotch bonnets for added heat and complexity. It is light, fresh, simple, and ready to be incorporated into your cooking. Ata gígé is ideal for condiment recipes like Ata Dín Dín and Ofada Stew, where a coarse-ground base sauce lends colorful bits to a finished dish.
Course Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine Nigerian
Servings 4 people


For ata gígé:

  • 2 medium red bell peppers, stemmed and seeded
  • 1 medium red onion, roughly chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 1 red Scotch bonnet pepper or 2 tablespoons Trinity Pepper Paste

For soup:

  • 1 cup shelled ègúsí seeds
  • Fine salt to taste
  • 2 cups Ata Gígé
  • 1/4 cup red palm oil
  • 1 pound cooked meat or roast mushrooms
  • 2 pounds (about 4 cups after squeezing) mature spinach, stemmed, blanched, and squeezed dry


For ata gígé:

  • Working in batches if necessary, combine the bell peppers, onion, garlic, ginger, and Scotch bonnet peppers in a food processor or blender and pulse to a coarse puree. Ata gígé can be stored in a sealed container for up to a week in the refrigerator or up to a month in the freezer. Yields 2 cups.

For soup:

  • Puree the ẹ̀gúsí seeds in a blender or food processor with water and a pinch of fine sea salt until a smooth paste is formed. Set aside.
  • Add the ata gígé into a large saucepan and heat up gently over medium heat. Allow to come to a simmer, stirring frequently. Reduce the heat to medium low and add your blended ẹ̀gúsí paste in tablespoon-sized clumps. Add the red palm oil. Cover the soup and allow the paste to cook without stirring the stew, about 6 minutes.
  • Add the meat or mushrooms and the drained leafy greens, stir, and cook until warmed through. Adjust the seasoning with salt and remove from the heat.
  • Serve over steamed rice or any swallows.


Recipe reprinted with permission from My Everyday Lagos by Yewande Komolafe (Clarkson Potter, a division of Penguin Random House, LLC, 2023). Photography by Kelly Marshall.
Keyword Ata Gígé, ègúsí seeds, Garlic, Ginger, Mushrooms, My Everyday Lagos, Red onion, Red palm oil, Scotch bonnets, Spinach, Yewande Komolafe

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