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West African Egusi Soup

West African Egusi Soup

Experience the vibrant essence of West African cuisine with Chef Kajsa Alger's Egusi Soup, a vegetarian delight crafted as part of the Kitchen Collaborative series in partnership with Flavor & the Menu + Summit F&B. Highlighting the complex yet comforting flavors emblematic of West African cooking,

Alger utilizes Custom Culinary® True Foundations™ Liquid Vegetable Stock Concentrate and Custom Culinary® Gold Label Mirepoix Base to infuse the dish with full flavor. "The flavors are so complex for seemingly simple comfort foods," Alger notes, underscoring the innovative use of bases and stocks to maintain the dish's authentic taste while keeping it vegetarian/vegan. This recipe not only explores the rich culinary landscape of Africa but also showcases the evolving diversity of modern dining menus.

What You'll Need

Recipe Ingredients

Yield: 24 Servings

½ c Custom Culinary® True Foundations® Liquid Vegetable Stock Concentrate
1 ½ oz Custom Culinary® Gold Label Mirepoix Base
5 ea yellow onions, peeled
5 ea red bell peppers, seeded
1 ea Scotch bonnet or other chile
1 c red palm oil
8 c ground egusi melon seed
5 lb spinach, washed and rough chopped
Fufu or white rice for serving

  1. Bring 6 qt water to a boil in a small stock pot. Add the Liquid Vegetable Stock and Mirepoix Base. Whisk in until all of the base is dissolved in the liquid. Set aside.
  2. Rough chop 2 of the onions and all the bell peppers. Place them in a food processor with the chile and 1 c cold water. This step can also be done in a blender or in a container with an immersion blender.
  3. Puree until smooth, scraping down the sides as you go to make sure that the entire mixture has no large pieces of onion or pepper.
  4. Heat the palm oil in a heavy-bottomed rondeau or saucepot over medium heat. Be careful that this oil doesn’t sit too long or it will burn.
  5. Dice the remaining 3 onions and add to the pot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions start to brown (4–5 minutes).
  6. Add the pepper puree and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Pour in the reserved stock mixture, stir and let simmer for another 10 minutes.
  7. Add the ground egusi seed. Stir gently and just enough to combine, but do not overmix.
  8. Cover the pot and reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer for 20 minutes. Stir only if you are concerned that the bottom will burn (depending on your pot) but try to disturb it as little as possible. If you do need to stir, stir gently and slowly. When it is ready, the egusi will be in one mass looking a little bit like cheese curds or scrambled egg.
  9. Remove the lid and gently stir in the chopped spinach. Taste and adjust the salt if necessary.  Stir and cook down another 5–10 minutes (this will determine how soupy you like it—the preference is yours).
  10. Remove from the heat and pour the soup into hotel pans to cool. The mixture can be reheated on the stovetop or in a steamer.
  11. Serve with fufu or white rice (both are traditional).