Pumpkin Seed Curry (AKA Egusi Soup) – Where Bollywood meets Nollywood

Whenever people ask me what Nigerian dishes are like, I usually say “we have a wide array of “curry like” dishes which we eat with rice, cassava meal (eba), yam meal (Amala), pounded yam etc. The recipe I will be sharing today gives credence to that statement,I have added a blend of Asian spices to this Nigerian staple making it fit for any curry house or curry lover. 🙂

Curries are so popular in England that they are now considered a National dish and I hope we can add the Pumpkin Seed Curry to the long list of curries loved and enjoyed all over the world.

Spices and herbs have tremendous health benefits as they contain chemical compounds that have been shown to confer a number of health benefits such as helping with inflammation, increasing metabolism, dealing with bacterial and fungal infections, helping to increase blood circulation thereby helping to ease the pain from conditions such as arthritis.

Moving away from the use of seasoning cubes has meant I’ve had to upgrade and expand my choice and use of herbs and spices which I am very pleased about. So if this recipe looks like there are too many spices in it, remember you wont be using any seasoning cubes. Today’s recipe is definitely going to leave your house smelling like a curry house and your neighbours sniffing. 🙂

Now to the recipe.

Funmi’s Pumpkin Seed Curry

(serves 6)

You will need

1 cup of pumpkin seeds

1 medium sized onion

1 garlic cloves

Thumb size fresh-root ginger

1 fresh green chilli

6 teaspoons cumin seeds

3 teaspoon coriander seeds

2 ehuru seeds (Calabash Nutmeg) (Optional)

1 tablespoon smoked paprika

1 tsp sea salt

1 tsp Oregano

1 tsp Sage

2 tbs ground crayfish

1 tsp cotonu pepper – Optional

2 tablespoons palm Oil – You can choose to skip this

400g Chicken breast– Bite size chunks

1 cup of chopped tomatoes

1 Scotch bonnet (optional)

Green leafy Vegetable of choice

How to make the Pumpkin Seed Curry paste

  • Heat a dry cast iron skillet or frying pan over medium heat. When hot add the cumin, coriander and ehuru seeds. Lightly toast these for a few minutes until golden brown and you start to smell the lovely aroma. Turn the seeds frequently so they do not burn.
Cumin, Coriander and Ehuru Seeds (Calabash Nutmeg)

Cumin, Coriander and Ehuru Seeds (Calabash Nutmeg)

  • Take off the heat and grind the seeds using a mortar and pestle (if you fancy that sort of thing, i find it quite therapeutic) or just use a spice mill or coffee grinder. You will only need 3 teaspoons of this spice mix. Store the rest for another day when you fancy some curry.

Spice Mix

  • In a blender add pumpkin seeds, 3 teaspoons spices mix, onions, green chilli, garlic, fresh-root ginger, 1 tablespoon of palm oil, and blend to a smooth paste. Add a little water to aid blending. You can also choose to grind the pumpkin seeds in a coffee/spice grinder first.

Pumpkin Seed Curry Paste

How to make the Pumpkin Seed Curry

  1. In a blender or food processor blend the tomatoes and scotch bonnet (if using), you might need to add a bit of water to aid blending. Alternatively you can use 1 cup of tinned chopped tomatoes.
  1. In a pan add one tablespoon of palm-oil(if using).Add the blended tomatoes and the chicken.
  1. Season with sea salt,black pepper, paprika,oregano, and sage. Cook on medium to low heat until chicken  is tender and cooked through.


  1. Add your curry paste, crayfish and Cotonu pepper and stir well to combine. Cook for another 20 -25 minutes, stirring occasionally and making sure it doesn’t dry out. Taste for salt and flavour and re-season to taste.


5. If you would like to freeze some of this for later I will suggest you dish some out at this stage.

6. Add green leafy vegetable of your choice and cook until tender about 3-5 minutes.


When it comes to the ratio of green leafy vegetable to curry I like to remember the Yoruba name for this dish which is Efo Elegusi, which tells us that the Efo (green leafy vegetable) has Egusi (Pumpkin Seed Curry) in it and not the other way round. If you worry about the oil content just aim for a high vegetable to Egusi ratio as a guide.

  1. Serve with some rice and Naan bread – because curry is not curry without naan 🙂

This can also be eaten with swallows as usual. ☺

Happy Cooking!