Nigerian Recipes, Nigerian soup recipes

Nigerian Spinach Stew (Ace Efo Riro)


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I called this Nigerian spinach stew ace efo riro because I added a secret ingredient to take it up a notch. Learn how to cook vegetable soup with spinach using this simple recipe 

Efo riro with uziza

Ace efo riro (Nigerian spinach stew): I recently fell in love with Uziza leaves and our love has kept blossoming in my kitchen. It is early days but I think you can guess by now that I added uziza leaves to this ace efo riro (Nigerian spinach stew). Well I did, and I have no regrets. Efo riro is for us the Yoruba’s and as a proud Yoruba gal I am allowed to brag and I can tell you, I know how to cook delicious efo riro. For this ace efo riro, I used a mixture of green, red and yellow pepper. It wasn’t planned but I decided to use it at the last minute.

I don’t know of any rule that says only red bell peppers and scotch bonnet chillies (ata rodo) are allowed to make efo riro (Nigerian spinach stew). Anyway, rules are meant to be broken, I also used goat meat for this ace efo riro and you know goat meat is ace in most dishes and with the uziza added, it made it extra special. Don’t tell anyone I told you this but if you have pepper mix that contains tomatoes, you can, by all means, use it to cook this vegetable soup.

Last February, I posted another variation of efo riro using kale leaves. The only changes I made to this recipe are that I used a different kind of meat, yellow bell pepper and added uziza leaves.  If you have been cooking your efo riro like I did mine, I recommend you take it a notch further and add uziza leaves to the next one you cook. If uziza is not readily available where you are, substitute with basil (efinrin/scent leaf).

angled shot of efo riro in a brown ceramic bowl placed on a napkin


500g Spinach  (use efo shoko, tete, spring greens or kale if in diasporas)

1-2 handful of uziza leaves, chopped

1 large red bell pepper (tatashe)

1 green bell pepper

1 yellow bell pepper

2-3 yellow scotch bonnet chilli

2 onions (half chopped)

3tbsp Iru woro (locust beans)

1 agbodo, washed (dried tilapia fish)

Dried shrimps

300g goat meat

3tbsp ground crayfish

Seasoning (bouillon cube)

300g ponmo and shaki


Smoked mackerel fillets

2-3 cooking spoon palm oil

A close shot of efo riro (spinach stew) in a brown ceramic bowl

How to make efo riro (Nigerian spinach stew)

Bring meat to boil with seasoning and salt till tender. Drain and set aside

Pick vegetables, chop, rinse and set aside

Wash and blend all the peppers and onions in a blender on pulse, coarsely blended (reserve half an onion, chopped). Bring pepper to boil till water dries out.

images collage with the process showing bell peppers being blended in a food processor

On medium-low heat, place a clean pan, add palm oil and heat for about 2 minutes

Add chopped onions and locust beans then fry for another 2 minutes

Stir in boiled pepper to hot palm oil (be mindful of hot palm oil) and cook for further 5 minutes on low medium-low heat

process shot of of how to fry stew for spinach stew

Add chopped assorted meat, agbodo and stir till all is well combined (stir sauce in between to avoid burning or sauce sticking to the bottom of the pan)

Add crayfish, seasoning and salt if needed

Continue to cook till oil floats on top of the sauce (This should be for about 10 minutes)

Add washed chopped vegetables into sauce, stir till well combined and check for salt and seasoning.

process shot of how to cook nigerian spinach stew. four images

Add smoked mackerel and carefully stir so as not to break the fish

Cook for another 3-5 minutes. Try not to overcook the vegetable

take off the efo riro heat and serve with eba, tuwo shinkafa, amala or any other swallow of choice or rice.

If you made this ace efo riro (Nigerian spinach stew), don’t forget to leave me feedback. Tag me on Instagram, Facebook and save away to your Pinterest


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