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Obe gbure elegusi (Waterleaf soup)
I was on the phone to my mum and our conversation soon turned to food. My sister cooked obe gbure elegusi some years back and it’s still the best gbure soup I have had till date. TBH, I have not been able to beat it. There is something about the soup that has never stopped me talking about it, the taste was out of this world, it was amazing. Anyways, the mention of gbure elegusi soup got me craving seriously. BTW, gbure is waterleaf in English and it is one of the Abeokuta people of Yoruba land’s favourite dish.
The only thing I disliked about this waterleaf soup is the task involved when picking the vegetable. My mum was really meticulous about how we picked waterleaf and would always scold us if the vegetable was full of the stalk. To get the best out of gbure vegetable, it has to be very fresh which also makes it easy to be picked and chopped before cooking. I couldn’t find fresh gbure (waterleaf) for this recipe and I didn’t want to use the frozen one either, so I substituted it with spinach as it is the closest to waterleaf.
Obe gbure (waterleaf soup) is also cooked with egusi as the name implies and it can also be cooked on its own as very light as one wants it. It is called gbure oloboro aka pade mi ni’gunpa (very light or watery waterleaf soup) when cooked this way. It is also important you cook it with locust beans ‘iru pete’ and not iru woro. You will also need smoked fish and crayfish. These three ingredients make waterleaf soup taste wonderful and you don’t have to break the bank to enjoy it. Gbure elegusi can be enjoyed with white amala called lafun, fufu or any other swallow of choice.
Ingredients for gbure elegusi
500g gbure (waterleaf) or more chopped and rinsed. Substitute with baby spinach
Few pieces of goat meat optional, substitute with any other protein of choice
1-2 wraps of Iru Pete (locust beans)
300g ground melon
1 cup of palm oil
Smoked fish, cleaned
2 red bell peppers
2 scotch bonnet chillies (ata rodo)
1 large onion
Handful basil, optional
How to make egusi soup
You can choose to use the vegetable fresh or blanched before adding to the egusi soup. If you want to blanch the vegetable,
In a blender, add red bell pepper, scotch bonnet chillies and onions with little water and blend till smooth. Empty into a bowl and set aside (you can blend the locust beans with the pepper if you want)
Add washed meat to a pan, add salt seasoning and chopped onions and bring to boil till tender, reserve stock for the soup.
Mix the ground melon with warm water to form a paste and set aside
Place a pan on a medium heat, add the meat stock and palm oil and bring to boil for about 5 to 10 minutes
Add the melon paste to the pan in bits and stir into the stock/palm oil mixture and stir gently to combine. Add the locust beans, add more water if need be and continue to cook for another 10-15 minutes making sure you stir intermittently till well cooked and almost lump free. Add the blended pepper and cook for another 5-8 minutes. Add crayfish, the meat, seasoning and salt (be careful when adding salt to soup that contains stock as you might not be needing salt if the stock was well seasoned)
Gbure soup is usually not thick, so add more water or stock to the soup to make it light if need be.
Add half of the smoked fish to the egusi soup and stir to combine and cook for another 5 minutes
Add the waterleaf (gbure) to the egusi and stir to combine, add the remaining smoked fish, chopped basil if using and carefully stir into the soup and cook for another 5 minutes. Take it off the heat and serve with swallow of choice or rice and you can even eat the gbure elegusi with bread.
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