Efo Riro Recipe

Derived from the Yoruba language in Nigeria which can loosely translate to “stirred leafy vegetable”, 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. A major rule is that tomatoes are prohibited in Efo riro. Also, Palm oil is preferred to get the best taste. Also, try to use as many assorted meats as you possibly can, the more the variety, the better. 


· Assorted meat and fish of choice (orisirisi). The following is recommended:

  • Beef/Goat meat
  • Shaki (cow tripe)
  • Ponmo
  • Cow leg
  • Smoked catfish
  • Dried Stockfish (Panla)
  • 20 cl palm oil
  • 500g Efo Shoko or Spinach
  • 5 Red bell pepper (tatashe) peppers
  • 3 tablespoons blended crayfish
  • 1 cup red prawns (head removed)
  • 2 red onion bulbs
  • 2 small stock cubes
  • 2 tablespoons locust beans (Iru)
  • Salt & Scotch Bonnet peppers (Ata rodo) (to taste)

Ingredient preparation

  • Now, season the meats, add sliced onions and boil on medium heat. Cook the toughest meat first (shaki) first. This soup should have as little water as possible so add small amounts of water at a time and top it up as you cook.
  • When the shaki starts to curl, add the dry fish and stockfish. When the shaki is almost done, add beef, stock cubes and some of the onions and cook till all the meat and fish are well done. Set these aside
  • Wash your vegetables thoroughly with hot water to rid it of all traces of dirt, be careful not to in soak in hot water for too long to retain the nutrients. Slice or chop according to your preference and set aside.
  • Blend the scotch bonnets and bell peppers and onion coarsely and set aside.


  • Into a large pot, add the palm oil, leave to heat up on medium heat for 2 minutes …
  • Then add onions, fry for about a min or two.
  • Then add the locust beans, fry to release the flavour for another minute 
  • Now add the blended pepper and two seasoning cubes
  • Allow frying for 15-20 minutes thereabouts until the pepper dries out
  • Add a cup of your meat stock/ chicken stock.

Let it boil for 2-3 minutes to combine, then add the assorted meats, prawns, crayfish, stockfish and catfish.

  •  Stir and taste, adjust seasoning if required.
  • Leave to cook for a further 10 minutes.
  • Now add the washed vegetables, stir thoroughly.
  • Switch off the heat at this time, leave to simmer for a further 5 minutes with the residual heat and it’s ready.
  • Serve with any “swallow” of your choice.


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