How to Make Efo Riro like a Pro

How to Make Efo Riro like a Pro

Efo Riro is a popular Nigerian dish. It is native to the Yoruba people of Western Nigeria. It is just like vegetable soup, but the Iru, also known as locust beans, give it a distinctive aroma and taste. Wouldn’t you like to know how to make Efo Riro like a pro at home?

This amazing dish, which is also called Nigerian spinach stew contains lots of green vegetables, meats, fish, spinach, and peppers. Efo Riro is to the Yoruba people of Western Nigeria what collard greens are to the southern region of the United States.

Efo means “green leafy vegetables.” “Riro,” on the other hand, “to stir.” So the word, Efo Riro means “stirred leafy vegetables.”

Read on to find the very tiny details about how you can make Efo Riro like a pro at home.

How to Make Efo Riro like a Pro

To make the authentic Efo riro, the Yoruba way, you need to use local ingredients. They include palm oil, smoked fish or dried fish, leafy greens, and Iru woro (locust beans). You also need coarsely blended pepper and ground crayfish. The assorted meats you need include beef, shaki, ponmo, stock fish, mackerel, dried smelt fish, and shrimp. 

What is Efo Riro?

Efo Riro is also known as efo elemi meje in the Yoruba language. The main ingredients are vegetables and assorted meat. The leafy greens are also called efo shoko or Efo tete in some Yoruba dialects. It is filled with nutrients like fiber, vitamins C, A and B6. It also contains minerals like manganese, iron, calcium, potassium, zinc, and magnesium. If you can’t find African spinach to make this vegetable soup, you can use frozen spinach.

Efo Riro Recipe

To make the best Efo riro, you need a blend of peppers, the efo shoko, and assorted meats. However, some traditional Yoruba people also add plum tomatoes, especially if they intend to eat the Efo Riro with rice.

If you wish to add tomatoes, you must blend them into a fine paste. Also, ensure that you fry it properly to prevent any sour taste that could spoil the taste of your vegetable soup.

Efo Riro Ingredients

Here are some of the ingredients you need to make the best efo riro soup.

  • Four bunches of efo shoko (fresh or frozen spinach as alternatives)
  • 2 Scotch bonnet (chilies) or habanero peppers
  • ½ cup of Palm oil
  • ¼ cup of Locust beans
  • 4 large Red bell peppers (tatashe)
  • Dried shawa/palamu (dried smelt fish)
  • 2 large Onions
  • Fresh or Smoked ponmo, washed and cut into bits
  • Other meats (Beef, shaki or chicken)
  • Smoked mackerel
  • ½ cup of ground crayfish
  • Seasoning preferably chicken stock cubes.
  • Salt to taste

How to Prepare the Ingredients for Efo Riro Soup

  • Make sure to wash and dice all meats into chunks and wash with hot water. Next, put the assorted meats together in a pot. Add a generous quantity of mixed seasonings like onions, thyme, blended peppers salt, and stock cubes. Now pour a small quantity of cold water and cook until it becomes soft. Separate meats from the stock (or broth).
  • Break the dry fish into chunks and set it aside.
  • Roughly chop 1 large onion, the entire bell peppers(tatashe), and scotch bonnet or habanero peppers and blend to a coarse texture. It is best to use a food processor so that it doesn’t turn fine or coarse.
  • Dice the remaining onion and set it aside.
  • Pick the Efo soko (vegetables) or fresh spinach from the stalk and dice them into bite-sized pieces. Rinse with cold water; drain and set it aside.

How to Cook Efo Riro

It is important to note that the Yoruba culture is diverse. This entails that the methods of cooking the efo riro soup may differ from place to place. However, the ingredients remain similar. Here’s one of the ways to make the best efo riro:

  • Put a pan on the stovetop at medium heat and add palm oil. Heat for 3 minutes without bleaching the oil. You only want it to smoke slightly.
  • Now add the diced onions, and locust beans and fry for an additional 2 minutes.
  • Add the pepper blend, and meat stock and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
  • Add your ponmo and ground crayfish and cook for an extra 3 minutes at low heat
  • Add a dash of salt and seasoning. Don’t add too much salt. You’ll check later and adjust as needed.
  • While the sauce cooks, boil water on a different stovetop and pour over the vegetables. Close with a lid and let it stay for 10 minutes. Now, drain and squeeze off any excess water.
  • Cook the sauce until the oil separates from the pepper blend and begins to float. This takes about 10 minutes and fits perfectly with the time for steeping the vegetables. Now add half of your proteins; including the smoked mackerel and dried smelt fish. Stir to combine. If the sauce looks too dry, add a bit of water but you don’t need too much since you want your Efo riro to be thick and water-free.
  • Now add the vegetable and stir until it mixes perfectly.
  • Add the remaining proteins and mix thoroughly. Check for salt and add additional salt and seasoning if needed. Cook for 4 minutes. Serve and enjoy!

How to Cook Efo Riro With Melon Seeds (Egusi) or Efo Elegusi

How to Make Efo Riro like a Pro- Egusi Seeds recipe OjaExpress

The Efo Elegusi is a different type of soup but often follows the process for cooking Efo Riro. It also uses the same efo shoko or other green vegetables like kale, ugu, or spinach in higher quantities than the regular Egusi soup.

The only different ingredient is the addition of ground Egusi which can be added after the pepper mix has been added. 

How to Cook Efo Riro Okra

How to Make Efo Riro like a Pro- Fresh Okra recipe OjaExpress

Okra may also be added to the Efo Riro to make an even healthier plate of greens. This dish would often require adding finely diced Okra at the same time as the spinach. This is especially because Okra doesn’t need too much cooking.

Efo Riro as a Side Dish

How to Make Efo Riro like a Pro - Efo and Pounded Yam recipe OjaExpress

To enjoy the efo riro, you need a side dish. The popular Yoruba way is to use Amala, eba, pounded yam, or semolina. A dish of white long-grain rice and beans also works perfectly.

If you’re looking to make delicious efo riro, you can get all the ingredients from OjaExpress. All you have to do is enter your zip code, and you’d find where you can buy them all, and have them delivered to your doorstep. You can also try more Nigerian recipes by checking out this article


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