Melon Seed Soup

Agushi Nkwan

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes



Appears in

The Ghana Cookbook

By Fran Osseo-Asare and Barbara Baëta

Published 2015

  • About

Ghanaians frequently use ground seeds and nuts to thicken soups. This recipe uses a kind of melon seed that gives it a mild nutty flavor. If agushi seeds are not available, use pumpkin seeds. This soup is reminiscent of peanut/groundnut soup, and a good substitute for anyone with peanut allergies.


  • 8 ounces boneless or 1 pound bone-in meat (goat, oxtail, lamb, beef, etc.), fat trimmed and cut into 12 pieces
  • 1 large onion or 3 shallots, finely chopped
  • Salt or seasoned salt to taste
  • 1 or 2 garlic cloves, crushed or minced (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger (optional)
  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon dried ground red pepper (or to taste) or a small amount of fresh chili pepper—for habanero, this would likely be a thin slice (see heat chart)
  • 6 ounces smoked fish (not smoked and salted herrings)
  • 2 large tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup agushi or pumpkin seeds



Season meat

  1. Put the meat into a soup pot with 1 cup of water. Add half the chopped onion/shallots, ¼ teaspoon salt, the garlic, ginger, and ground red pepper or chili pepper.
  2. Stir, cover, and simmer on low heat until the meat is almost tender, about 30 minutes, depending on the cut of meat. Add a little more water while the meat simmers if necessary.

Make soup

  1. While the meat cooks, remove any bones and skin from the fish and break the fish into pieces. Set aside.
  2. When the meat is almost tender, add another 5 cups of water and bring to a boil, then lower the heat to simmer.
  3. Grind the tomatoes and remaining chopped onion/shallots in a blender and add to the soup pot. (NOTE: Traditionally, people would throw the whole tomato into the hot soup and let it soften for a few minutes, then remove and slip off the tomato skin before the tomato is pureed. Omit or include this step as desired.)
  4. Grind the agushi or pumpkin seeds in a blender, using a little of the water from the soup pot to make a paste. Add 1 more cup of the soup broth to the blender and puree to make a smooth paste. Stir the paste into the soup.
  5. Add the smoked fish. Allow the soup to simmer for 20 to 30 minutes or until the flavors blend and the meat is soft.
  6. Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary, and cook a few more minutes.

To serve

This soup is classically served Ghana-style Dumplings (Fufu). An alternative would be Rice Balls (Omo Tuo).