Beniseed soup (African sesame seed stew) is a nutrition-packed, delicious African soup with a pleasant, irresistible flavor you will fall in love with!
Beniseed soup is a rich, healthy, low carb soup eaten with fufu and commonly eaten in middle belt states in Nigeria. Its appearance is very similar to that of egusi soup, but it tastes quite different.
Beniseed soup is made from sesame seeds and that's what gives it that rich, nutty flavor.
Should I use hulled or unhulled sesame seeds?
Sesame seeds are usually sold in two different forms: hulled and unhulled. Most sesame seeds sold in grocery stores are hulled - they have had their seed coat removed and are whiter in color and taste sweeter.
Hulled sesame seeds work better for sweeter treats like bread and desserts.
Unhulled sesame seeds still have their seed coat intact and are usually brown in color and have a faint bitterness to them.
For this recipe, we will be using unhulled sesame seeds as its complex flavor when roasted works better for this traditional African soup recipe. Unhulled sesame seeds are also richer in calcium and iron.
Ingredients used in making beniseed soup
Sesame seeds: I buy unhulled sesame seeds from Amazon but you might also get it from a whole foods store. Some African stores sell preprocessed and prepackaged beniseeds, and you can just use it straight from the package without any further processing.
But I prefer to process it myself because it is cheaper and I think it tastes so much fresher and better.
Palm oil: A lot of African soups are made with palm oil. It has a rich and buttery texture and gives the soup a distinct, traditional African flavor.
Vegetables: Chopped spinach, bell pepper, habanero pepper, and onions.
Spices: Ground crayfish, bouillon powder, cayenne pepper, and salt.
Beef or your choice of meat. You can even leave out all meat products for a vegetarian option!
Broth/stock: You can use water if you don’t have any on hand but will have to adjust the salt and spices.
How to make beniseed soup
First, you'll have to roast the sesame seeds in the oven to release its wonderful nutty taste and flavor. Preheat your oven to 450F.
Pour the sesame seeds in a colander and rinse under the tap for about a minute. Washing it introduces some moisture to the sesame seeds so it does not burn in the oven after only a few minutes of roasting.
Spread on a baking sheet and place in the preheated oven for 10 minutes. Stir halfway to prevent burning. It will be ready when the seeds turn a nice golden brown color.
While waiting for the sesame seeds to be ready, blend your habanero and bell pepper together. Use very little water if you need it. Also, chop the onions and set aside.
Once the sesame seeds are ready, take it out and blend it. I’ve only really gotten consistent results using a personal blender.
It comes out nice and clumpy and some of the natural oils in the sesame seeds are released which is what you want to happen.
When I tried using a regular blender, the grains just kept spinning round and round and nothing really happened.
You can use the same blender for the peppers and sesame seeds. Just give a quick rinse before you blend the sesame seeds.
Add palm oil to a pot on medium heat and add the chopped onions. After about a minute, add the blended bell pepper and habanero mix and stir for 5 minutes.
Then, add the blended sesame seeds and stir until it begins to clump together.
Add the beef, bouillon powder, crayfish, cayenne pepper, and stir. After about 5 minutes, pour in the broth/water, mix together and check for salt and adjust if necessary.
The amount of salt you’ll need to add will depend on just how much salt the broth/stock already contains so add sparingly.
Bring to a boil and let simmer on medium heat for another 5 minutes. Add the chopped spinach and let it cook on low heat for a few minutes.
Your beniseed soup is ready to eat!
This soup serves 6 and contains 7g net carbs per serving. It freezes very well and keeps well in the fridge for about 5 days.
What can I eat beniseed soup with?
Beniseed soup great with rice or fufu dishes. For a low carb, nutritious, and very satisfying meal, eat your beniseed soup with cauliflower rice or low carb fufu dishes like Cauliflower Fufu or Cabbage Fufu.
Expert tips when making beniseed soup
If you want it less spicy, remove the seeds from the habanero pepper before using it, and leave out the cayenne pepper. It will still have a slightly spicy taste.
Always remove the core and seeds from the bell pepper before blending.
You can roast the sesame seeds on the stovetop. Just stir in a dry skillet till the color turns golden brown.
Try these other healthy and delicious African soups and stews!
Efo Riro (Nigerian Spinach Stew)
Beniseed Soup (African Sesame Seed Stew)
- ½ cup palm oil
- ½ cup onions
- 1.5 cups sesame seeds
- 1 bell pepper
- 1 habanero pepper
- 1 cup broth or water
- 1 cup chopped spinach
- 2 lbs beef
- 1 tablespoon bouillon powder
- 1 tablespoon ground crayfish
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Salt to taste
- Preheat the oven to 450 F.
- Wash sesame seeds and let drain on a colander.
- Spread on a tray and roast in the oven for 10 minutes, stirring halfway.
- Blend the bell pepper and habanero together and chop the onions.
- Blend the roasted sesame seeds in a personal blender until it begins to clump together.
- Add palm oil to a pan on medium heat.
- When heated, add the chopped onions and stir.
- After a minute, add the blended pepper mix and stir for 5 minutes.
- Add the blended sesame seeds and stir for about 2 minutes.
- Add the meat, bouillon powder, crayfish, and cayenne pepper.
- Let simmer for about 5 minutes on low heat.
- Pour in the broth, mix together and adjust spices and salt if necessary.
- Bring to a boil and let simmer on medium heat for 5 minutes.
- Add the chopped spinach and let it cook on low heat for 5 more minutes.
- Serve and enjoy!
- This recipe serves 6 and contains 7g net carbs per serving.
- If you want it less spicy, remove the seeds from the habanero pepper before using it, and leave out the cayenne pepper. It will still have a slightly spicy taste.
- Always remove the core and seeds from the bell pepper before blending.
- You can roast the sesame seeds on the stovetop. Just stir in a dry skillet till the color turns golden brown.
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