Egusi Potstickers

Egusi soup, which is thickened with roasted and ground gourd seeds, is the most widely eaten soup across Nigeria. It's usually served with swallow, a dough made from any number of starches, including pounded yam and dried cassava, that is used to scoop up the soup. But San Francisco chef Simileoluwa Adebajo's love of Chinese dumplings inspired this creation.

egusi potstickers
Photo: Photographer: Greg DuPree; Food Stylist: Margaret Dickey; Prop Stylist: Kay Clarke
Active Time:
50 mins
Total Time:
1 hr


  • 1 cup ground egusi (dried melon and gourd seeds; see Tip)

  • 3 tablespoons water plus 1 cup, divided

  • ½ cup organic unrefined red palm oil (see Tip)

  • 1 small onion, diced

  • ½ cup obe ata dindin (see Tip) or no-salt-added tomato sauce

  • 1 cup spinach, trimmed

  • ¾ teaspoon Cameroon pepper or to taste (see Tip)

  • ¾ teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • teaspoon salt

  • 33 potsticker wrappers

  • ¼ cup avocado oil or canola oil


  1. Mix egusi and 3 tablespoons water in a medium bowl until it creates a thick paste. Form the egusi into 9 balls (1 tablespoon each).

  2. Heat palm oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Fry the egusi balls, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides, about 4 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a paper-towel-lined plate.

  3. Combine onion, dindin (or tomato sauce) and the remaining 1 cup water in a medium saucepan; bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Adjust heat to maintain a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Add the egusi balls, crushing them lightly with a wooden spoon to thicken the sauce. Simmer until slightly reduced, about 5 minutes.

  4. Stir in spinach, Cameroon pepper to taste, cayenne and salt. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid evaporates, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a shallow dish and let cool completely, about 20 minutes.

  5. Place about 2 teaspoons egusi mixture on each potsticker wrapper and seal the edges by pinching them closed with wet fingers.

  6. Heat avocado (or canola) oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the potstickers in batches and cook until crispy and golden, about 3 minutes per side. With a slotted spoon, transfer the potstickers to a wire rack set over a baking sheet (or to a paper-towel-lined plate) to drain. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.


Made from ground dried gourd seeds, egusi thickens its namesake soup.

Extracted from the oil palm tree, unrefined red palm oil gets its deep hue from healthful antioxidant pigments called carotenoids, which are important for eye health. Its high smoke point makes it a good choice for frying.

Sometimes referred to as Nigerian pepper sauce, obe ata dindin is a sauce made with stewed bell and habanero peppers, tomatoes, onions and spices.

Cameroon pepper is made by grinding fiery dried Scotch bonnet chiles.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

343 Calories
23g Fat
41g Carbs
11g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 6
Serving Size about 5 potstickers
Calories 343
% Daily Value *
Total Carbohydrate 41g 15%
Dietary Fiber 9g 32%
Total Sugars 3g
Protein 11g 22%
Total Fat 23g 29%
Saturated Fat 5g 25%
Cholesterol 6mg 2%
Vitamin A 586IU 12%
Vitamin C 32mg 36%
Vitamin D 1IU 0%
Vitamin E 1mg 9%
Folate 12mcg 3%
Vitamin K 24mcg 20%
Sodium 346mg 15%
Calcium 47mg 4%
Iron 3mg 17%
Magnesium 6mg 1%
Potassium 191mg 4%

Nutrition information is calculated by a registered dietitian using an ingredient database but should be considered an estimate.

* Daily Values (DVs) are the recommended amounts of nutrients to consume each day. Percent Daily Value (%DV) found on nutrition labels tells you how much a serving of a particular food or recipe contributes to each of those total recommended amounts. Per the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the daily value is based on a standard 2,000 calorie diet. Depending on your calorie needs or if you have a health condition, you may need more or less of particular nutrients. (For example, it’s recommended that people following a heart-healthy diet eat less sodium on a daily basis compared to those following a standard diet.)

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a special diet for medical reasons, be sure to consult with your primary care provider or a registered dietitian to better understand your personal nutrition needs.

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