Recipes: Nigerian Meat Pies, Egusi Soup & Pounded Yam

2:10 PM, Apr 28, 2013   |    comments
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Courtesy: Mary Ann Ismala (African Continental Cuisine)

Nigerian Meat Pies
The spicy, curry-flavored meat pie, a staple of Nigerianfood culture, came about when a traditional Cornish pasty met the Nigerian spice palate.

Recipe Makes 10 Pies

3 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
8 oz. butter, cut in 1" cubes and frozen for 1 hour
6 tbsp. very cold water


1 small russet potato
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 tsp. madras curry powder
1 cup red onion, diced
1 cup carrot, dice
4 cloves garlic, minced
8 oz. ground beef
1 tbsp. thyme, chopped
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
1 cup beef stock
1 tsp. salt
1 egg, for eggwash

1. Make the dough: In a food processor, pulse the flour, salt, sugar and frozen butter until the butter is broken up into pea sized clumps. Dump the flour mixture into a medium sized bowl and add in 6 tablespoons of the cold water. Using your hands, gather the damp dough clumps together and gently knead until they just come together. Place the dough on a large piece of plastic wrap and wrap it into a flat 6x6 inch disc. Chill for at least 2 hours or overnight.

2. Make the filling: Cook the russet potato in boiling water for about 15 minutes until barely cooked through. Cool thoroughly by running under cold water. Peel (discarding peels) and chop into ¼-inch cubes. Set aside.

3. In a medium sized pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the madras curry and heat 'til fragrant, about 15 seconds. Add the red onions, carrots and garlic and sauté until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the thyme, ground beef, and red pepper flakes, stirring to break up the ground beef, and cook for another 3 minutes. Add the reserved potato cubes, beef stock, and salt, and bring mixture to a simmer for about 5 minutes. Remove filling from heat and spread on a ¼ sheet tray. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and chill completely.

4. On a well floured surface, roll out pie dough into a rectangle 1/8-inch thick. Use a 5-inch round pastry cutter to stamp out dough circles. Collect scraps, re-roll, and stamp out more circles until you have 10 circles total. Lay each circle out flat on a floured surface and place 2 full tablespoons of cooled filling in the center of each. Brush the edges of the pastry circles with a pastry brush dipped in water, and fold one end of the circle over the filling, aligning with the other end of the circle to form a half moon shape. Use the tines of a fork to press down gently on the edges where the ends meet to crimp the edges, completely sealing them. Place the pies on a baking sheet lined with parchment and chill for at least one hour.

5. Heat the oven to 350°F. Whisk the whole egg with 1 tablespoon water and brush the top of each pie with the egg wash. Prick the tops of each pie with a fork. Bake pies for 20-25 minutes, until crust is golden brown and filling is just bubbling through the tops. Remove pies from the oven and let cool for at least 10 minutes before eating.


Egusi soup is popular in Western Africa. The soup is thickened with ground melon, gourd, or squash seeds. Look for the seeds in African or International grocery stores. Pumpkin seeds, also known as pepitas, can be substituted and are available in Latin American grocery stores.

Yield is 8 servings. 


• 2 pounds boneless goat meat or meat of your choice, cut in bite-size pieces ( can be omitted if vegetarian)
• smoked fish ( or shrimp), to taste
• 2 medium onions, roughly chopped
• Coarse salt
• 4 maggi cubes, or other chicken bouillion cubes
• 3 cups water
• 4 fresh scotch bonnet or habenero peppers
• 1 Whole Red Bell Pepper
• dried shrimp, to taste
• dried crayfish, to taste
• 2 cups melon seed
• 1 package frozen spinach, thawed (340 g) or fresh spinach
• 1/2 cup palm oil
• 1 cup vegetable oil
Pounded Yam
• 2 cups Nigerian yam flour
• 2 cups water

Egusi Soup

1. Put the meat in a medium pot.
2. Rinse the dried fish and add it to the pot.
3. Add 1 onion, salt to taste and 2 maggi cubes.
4. Add 3 cups water and bring to a boil on high heat. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 min.
5. Meanwhile, put the scotch bonnet and red bell peppers and the remaining onion in a blender and puree.
6. Scrape the onion pepper mixture into a bowl and set aside.
7. Put the shrimp, crayfish and melon seed in a clean blender and blend until a powder forms.
8. Put it in a bowl and set aside.
9. Squeeze the excess liquid from the spinach and set aside.
10. After 30 minutes, check the meat.
11. If it is still tough, add more water to the pot so that cooking liquid covers the meat.
12. Continue to cook until the goat is fork tender, add the onion pepper mixture and cook 15 minutes.
13. Reduce heat to medium and add the melon seed mixture.
14. Cook 30 minutes longer and add the spinach, the oils and the 2 remaining maggi cubes.
15. Cover it and cook for another 15 minutes.
Pounded Yam
1. Bring 1 3/4 cups water to a boil on high heat.
2. Turn the heat to medium and stir in the pounded yam flour.
3. Keep stirring until it is smooth and soft. If it is really thick, add some hot water. It will have a similar texture to polenta.
1. Serve the pounded yam on plates and serve with bowls of egusi soup.
2. Dip the pounded yam into the egusi soup.

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