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5 Efo Riro Recipe Variations You Need To Try

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Efo riro is a famous cuisine in West Africa that originated from Yorubaland in modern-day Nigeria. However, love for this cuisine has spilled into neighboring Togo and Benin in West Africa. This vegetable stew, native to the Yoruba people, is prepared with three major ingredients namely:

  • Nigerian spinach called efo Shoko or efo tete in Yoruba
  • Palm oil
  • Fermented locust beans

It is a highly nutritious soup that contains spinach which is highly rich in Vitamins (A, B, C, and K), Folate, Manganese, Magnesium, and Iron.

What Is the English Name for Efo riro?

Efo Riro cuisine of the Yoruba people is made out of spinach. The word Efo riro is derived from the Yoruba language, spoken in Nigeria. The term Efo means “green leafy vegetable” or “spinach” while riro means to stir. So, Efo riro literarily translates to Spinach stir.

Who Should Not Eat Spinach?

Eating too much Efo riro cuisine or spinach can interfere with the body’s ability to absorb mineral salts. People who are taking blood thinners should consult their doctor before taking large amounts of spinach. Also, since spinach is high in vitamin K1, people who are prone to kidney stones would want to avoid consuming a lot of it.

What is the Botanical Name for Efo tete?

Spinach is a leafy plant native to central and western Asia. Its botanical classification is as follows;

  • Order: Caryophyllales
  • Family: Amaranthaceae
  • Its scientific name is Spinacea oleracea

5 Variations of Efo riro

#1: Popular Yoruba’s Efo riro by Sisi Jemimah

According to Jemimah, Efo riro cuisine is quite an easy dish to prepare, as long as you follow the major instructions and requirements. “One major rule to keep in mind while preparing Efo riro cuisine is that tomatoes are not to be used at all costs. All you need are bell peppers and scotch bonnets,” says Jemimah.

Efo Riro needs no introduction as it’s one of the most popular vegetable soups in Nigeria and an absolute favourite of the Yorubas. It’s quite an easy dish to prepare, as long as you follow the major instructions and requirements.

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Efo Riro Recipe

Yields5 Servings

Efo Riro doesn’t need too much seasoning, curry, thyme or white pepper are unnecessary. All it needs to thrive is very rich beef/chicken stock, this means you need to properly season your meats as the stock is what really determines the outcome. 

 2 bunches Ugwu leaves( you can also use Spinach or Soko)
 3 medium size bell peppers (Tatashe)Or 2 big size
 1 ½ scotch bonnet (Rodo)
 ½ cup Palm Oil
 1 ½ medium size red onions
 Assorted meats of your choice (Shaki, Kpomo, cow leg, smoked turkey or beef are ideal) Dried stockfish (Panla)
 Smoked cat fish
 1 tbsp Locust beans (Iru)
 ½ cup raw/cooked prawns (Optional)
 ¼ cup smoked prawns (Optional)
 2 Knorr chicken cubesor any bullion cubes of your choosing.
 3 tbsp ground Crayfish
 Salt to taste

Ingredients

 2 bunches Ugwu leaves( you can also use Spinach or Soko)
 3 medium size bell peppers (Tatashe)Or 2 big size
 1 ½ scotch bonnet (Rodo)
 ½ cup Palm Oil
 1 ½ medium size red onions
 Assorted meats of your choice (Shaki, Kpomo, cow leg, smoked turkey or beef are ideal) Dried stockfish (Panla)
 Smoked cat fish
 1 tbsp Locust beans (Iru)
 ½ cup raw/cooked prawns (Optional)
 ¼ cup smoked prawns (Optional)
 2 Knorr chicken cubesor any bullion cubes of your choosing.
 3 tbsp ground Crayfish
 Salt to taste
Popular Yorubas Efo Riro by Sisi Jemimah

#2: Spinach Stew Using Beef by Chef Lola’s Kitchen

According to chef Lola, Efo riro cuisine is a one-pot soup with layers of flavors. Chef Lola claims that even though Efo riro means stirred vegetables, we just don’t stir it by itself. We need to stir it with a rich pepper sauce loaded with meat or fish of your choice.

Efo Riro is an African Stewed Spinach also popularly known as Efo riro is a one-pot stew with layers of flavor. It requires quite a number of ingredients but little work from the cook putting it all together (as long as you already have all your ingredients prepped).

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African -Stewed spinach Efo riro

Yields5 Servings
Prep Time10 minsCook Time20 minsTotal Time30 mins

Efo riro is derived from the Yoruba language in Nigeria. Efo means ”Green leafy vegetable” or ”spinach”, and riro, means ”to stir”.  So basically, Efo riro simply means ”stirred leafy vegetable”. However, we just don’t stir this by itself, we stir it in a rich pepper sauce which is loaded with Meat, Crayfish, Dry Fish, and other Meat or Fish of Choice.

 1.50 lbs Spinachblanched
 3 Large red peppers
 1 very small onion
 ¼ cup Palm Oil
 2 tbsp Crayfishblended
 ½ cup stock FishAbout 2 handfuls of shredded
 1 Prawnabout a handful, Dried
 1 Onionmedium size- diced
 2 tbsp locust bean
 1 lb BeefA mixture of Beef, Tripe, and cow Skin.

Ingredients

 1.50 lbs Spinachblanched
 3 Large red peppers
 1 very small onion
 ¼ cup Palm Oil
 2 tbsp Crayfishblended
 ½ cup stock FishAbout 2 handfuls of shredded
 1 Prawnabout a handful, Dried
 1 Onionmedium size- diced
 2 tbsp locust bean
 1 lb BeefA mixture of Beef, Tripe, and cow Skin.
Spinach Stew (Efo Riro) Using Beef by Chef Lola’s Kitchen

#3: Yoruba Style by 9JaFoodie

Ronhe Edoho, the food blogger for 9jafoodie, says that Efo isn’t Efo if you have a situation where the Efo sits on one side of the bowl and the water migrates to the other side of the bowl. If Efo riro cuisine is made right, you should not have that situation. Every ingredient should blend into a homogenous mix.

An authentic efo riro recipe.  The unique taste of efo riro comes from the use of Locust beans, Bleaching of palm oil and the absence of tomatoes.

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Nigerian Efo Riro Recipe

Let's learn how to make this awesome and amazing Niegrian Efo-Riro.

Yields5 Servings
Prep Time15 minsCook Time30 minsTotal Time45 mins

Part A
 4 Red bell peppers(Tatashe)
 1 Medium Onion Bulb
 23 Scotch Bonnet(Ata Rodo)
Part B
 1 cup Palm Oil
 1 Medium Onion BulbThinly sliced
 2 tbsp Blended crayfish
 ½ cup Red prawns head removed
 2 cups Shredded fish (smoked Catfish preferably)Washed and de-boned
 68 Pieces of Parboiled meat (Goat meat or beef and/or Ponmon )
 2 tbsp Whole locust beans (Iru)
 Salt to taste
Part C
 15 cups Chopped fresh spinach(efo tete) 3 - bunchesOR 3 packs chopped frozen spinach (9oz packs) – Defrosted

Ingredients

Part A
 4 Red bell peppers(Tatashe)
 1 Medium Onion Bulb
 23 Scotch Bonnet(Ata Rodo)
Part B
 1 cup Palm Oil
 1 Medium Onion BulbThinly sliced
 2 tbsp Blended crayfish
 ½ cup Red prawns head removed
 2 cups Shredded fish (smoked Catfish preferably)Washed and de-boned
 68 Pieces of Parboiled meat (Goat meat or beef and/or Ponmon )
 2 tbsp Whole locust beans (Iru)
 Salt to taste
Part C
 15 cups Chopped fresh spinach(efo tete) 3 - bunchesOR 3 packs chopped frozen spinach (9oz packs) – Defrosted
Efo Riro Yoruba Style by 9JaFoodie

#4: Yoruba Vegetable Soup Using Fried Tilapia by Yummy Medley

Unlike the other bloggers who think tomatoes are not advisable when it comes to this spinach soup, Yummy Medley says that she prefers the sweet and sour flavor that tomatoes add to this soup. If your year’s resolution is focusing on a healthier diet, then Efo riro cuisine is a good way of having the vegetables that suit your healthy diet.

Allow me to introduce you to a very common Nigerian recipe that will change the way you feel about this vegetable forever! This Nigerian spinach stew also called vegetable soup and locally known as ‘Efo Riro’ (pronounced ‘eh-faw ree-roh‘) is guaranteed to be one of the most savory and delicious spinach recipes you will ever taste.

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Nigerian-Spinach-Stew-Ready-and-Served Efo Riro

Yields8 Servings
Prep Time10 minsCook Time45 minsTotal Time55 mins

Efo Riro is a favorite Yoruba staple that is so well-beloved, it is sometimes the basis on which cooking skills are assessed! 

 4 lbs SpinachChopped
 1 lb Fried TilapiaOr Meat of Choice
 ½ lb Small Fresh Water Shrimp
 2 Roma Tomatoes
 1 Red Bell Pepper
 1 Large Red Onion
 2 Habanero Peppers
 2 Cloves of Garlic
 ¼ cup Palm Oil Or Annatto Oil
 And Salt to Taste

Ingredients

 4 lbs SpinachChopped
 1 lb Fried TilapiaOr Meat of Choice
 ½ lb Small Fresh Water Shrimp
 2 Roma Tomatoes
 1 Red Bell Pepper
 1 Large Red Onion
 2 Habanero Peppers
 2 Cloves of Garlic
 ¼ cup Palm Oil Or Annatto Oil
 And Salt to Taste
Efo Riro Yoruba Vegetable Soup Using Fried Tilapia by Yummy Medley

#5: Nigerian Spinach Stew by Low Carb Africa

Efo riro cuisine transforms a bland vegetable stew into a mouthwatering dish that will leave you craving for more. This is particularly true for small children who don’t love to eat leafy greens. Perhaps, this spinach stew will have them enjoying their vegetables as you’ve never seen before.

Efo riro (Nigerian Spinach Stew) is a mouthwatering, savory, African stew made with spinach and is oh so flavorful! Who knew spinach could taste so good? It is very easy to make and you will be amazed by how delicious this spinach stew is.

You really can’t go wrong with this recipe!

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EFO RIRO - NIGERIAN SPINACH STEW by Low Carb Africa

Yields8 Servings
Prep Time10 minsCook Time20 minsTotal Time30 mins

African stew is popular in some West African countries like Nigeria, Ghana, and also Cameroon. The recipes are similar with only slight differences but my version is commonly made in Nigeria among the Yoruba tribe.

 8 cups Spinachchpped
 12 oz cooked meatI used goat meat but you can use any
 2 cups mushrooms
 ½ cup palm oil
 1 red bell pepper
 2 plum tomatoesalso known as Roma tomatoes
 1 habanero pepper
 1 Onion
 ¼ cup wateror stock (optional)
 1 tsp black pepper
 1 tsp pepper flakes optional
 1 tsp salt to taste
 

Ingredients

 8 cups Spinachchpped
 12 oz cooked meatI used goat meat but you can use any
 2 cups mushrooms
 ½ cup palm oil
 1 red bell pepper
 2 plum tomatoesalso known as Roma tomatoes
 1 habanero pepper
 1 Onion
 ¼ cup wateror stock (optional)
 1 tsp black pepper
 1 tsp pepper flakes optional
 1 tsp salt to taste
EFO RIRO Nigerian Spinach Stew by Low Carb Africa

Conclusion

If you would love to make this amazing dish, make sure you pay close attention to the recipes. We’ve highlighted the different recipes you could use to make this Yoruba spinach soup. Hopefully, you have another meal to add to your menu when you want to give your family a surprise treat. If you found this article helpful be kind enough to share it with your friends. Which of the variants do you like the most? Let us know in the comment box below.

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