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., May 2022


Credit: Photographer: Greg DuPree; Food Stylist: Margaret Dickey; Prop Stylist: Kay Clarke

Recipe Summary

50 mins
1 hr


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • 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).

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

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

  • 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

about 5 potstickers
343 calories; protein 11g; carbohydrates 41g; dietary fiber 9g; sugars 3g; fat 23g; saturated fat 5g; mono fat 2g; poly fat 4g; cholesterol 6mg; vitamin a iu 586IU; vitamin c 32mg; vitamin d iu 1IU; vitamin e iu 2IU; folate 12mg; vitamin k 24mg; sodium 346mg; calcium 47mg; iron 3mg; magnesium 6mg; phosphorus 7mg; potassium 191mg; niacin equivalents 1mg.