Egusi stew (palava sauce)


Egusi stew (palava sauce)

Yield: 4-6 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

A delicious, one-of-a-kind West African meal that is nothing short of comfort food.


  • 1 1/2 c. ground egusi
  • 1/3 c. palm oil
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 tomatoes -or- 3/4 c. (1/2-14 oz. can) crushed tomatoes
  • 1/3 red bell pepper (optional)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1-2 Tbsp. ground crayfish
  • 1/2 habanero (optional)
  • 1 1/2 c. smoked turkey, bite-size
  • 5 oz. spinach, chopped small
  • salt, to taste
  • water or broth, as needed


  1. Stir in ~1/4 c. of water and 1/4 tsp. salt to the ground egusi to form a semi-thick paste. Set aside.
  2. Heat palm oil over medium (4). Thinly chop half the onion, and fry in palm oil until soft, ~8 minutes, stirring often.
  3. In the meantime, blend the other half of the onion, along with the tomato, bell pepper, garlic, crayfish, and habanero, until smooth. Add 1/4 cup of water or broth at a time if not enough liquid to blend.
  4. Once onion is soft, add blended ingredients to pot. Let fry for 5 minutes, or until oil starts to rise to the top. If too thick, add water or stock to thin it out ~1 Tbsp. at a time.
  5. Add the egusi paste to the pot by the heaping spoonful, forming large “dumplings”. Cover, and reduce heat to 3.
  6. After ~4 minutes, gently stir the bottom, disturbing the egusi “dumplings“ as little as possible. Cover again, and let cook for another 4 minutes.
  7. Gently incorporate the meat, and cover again. Let cook another 4-5 minutes.
  8. Once done, add the spinach. Let cook until spinach wilts, ~2-3 minutes. Remove from heat.

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