Nigerian Recipes, Nigerian soup recipes

How to Make Efo Riro

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This is the best efo riro recipe you can find anywhere on the internet. If you are looking for how to make efo riro, look no further, you are at the right place. It is delicious, quick and  it qualifies for low carb Nigerian food as it can be eaten on its own

a bowl of efo riro loaded with ponmo and smoked mackerel.

My friend sent me a picture of the efo riro he was cooking some couple of days ago, and for a minute. I found myself asking 100 questions from is that efo tete, to are you sure it’s the real thing and,  where did you get it from? How much did you pay for it? Anyways at the end of my questions, I just told him, I don’t care what you do to it, just make sure you get me a bowl. Some few days later, guess what came knocking at my door? Three bunches of efo tete (African spinach/Amaranthus) and a bowl of cooked efo riro.

Although, my friend kept moaning about how his efo riro was not good enough to him, but in my mind I was just thinking, if only he knew how I had wanted the efo so bad. I’m sure he’d not reached his destination before it was consumed.

I remember vividly how my mother makes efo riro back then, it is not the number of ingredients that goes into it but how you cook it. Efo riro is also called efo elemi meje, as it can be cooked with any choice of protein. You can also cook it with the core ingredients available to you.

ingredients to cook african stewed spinach.

How to make Efo-riro

If you want to make efo riro the yoruba way, it is important you use locust beans, smoked fish/dried fish and palm oil. Every other thing you decide to add after the core ingredients just complements it. Also, you need coarsely blended pepper to make the vegetable soup.

I have other recipes of efo riro on the blog that I added a bit of everything to but this time, I chose to use smoked mackerel, ground crayfish and smoked ponmo that my great aunt brought for me. This is the best efo riro I have cooked in a long time. In my mind I named this vegetable soup ‘almighty efo riro’ the taste can’t be compromised. Every blood in my veins prayed for my friend and his family as I enjoyed the Almighty efo riro with my family.

efo riro.

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Ingredients

Bunches of green vegetables (efo tete) subtitute with fresh or frozen spinach

Red bell peppers (tatashe)

Scotch bonnet chillies

Onions

Palm oil

Locust beans (Iru woro)

Dried shawa/palamu (dried smelt fish)

Smoked mackerel

Smoked ponmo, washed and diced

Ground crayfish

Salt

Seasoning

illustration of how to pick efo.

Prep and tips

I used smoked dried ponmo for this recipe, you can also use fresh ones if you want. If you are using the dried ones, soak them in warm water for at least 36-48 hours. Wash ponmo clean (use clean wired scourers for an easier job) and set aside

  • Pick the vegetable from the stalk and slice into chunks
  • Rinse vegetable clean, drain and set aside
  • Wash locust beans and set aside
  • Chop 1 onion and set aside
  • Shred the smoked fish into flakes and also set aside
  • Roughly chop the bell pepper (tatashe) and onions, add to a blender and pulse for coarse texture (alternatively, use a food processor for perfect coarse texture)

Efo riro Soup as I know it

Place a pan on medium heat and add palm oil, heat for about 5 minutes but don’t bleach

Followed by iru woro, chopped onions and fry in the oil for about 2 minutes (In this case I used half of the locust beans and saved the rest to be used before I finished cooking the soup). Add blended pepper to the palm oil and stir to combine, after about 3 minutes, add the remaining locust beans. Move on to add the diced ponmo and ground crayfish and cook for another 3-4 minutes on low heat

Add seasoning and pinch of salt. (check for salt at the later stage of the cooking)

Whilst you are waiting for the sauce to cook, boil water enough to cover the vegetable. Once the water is boiled, pour over the vegetable and cover with a lid for 5-10 minutes. Strain and squeeze out excess water from the vegetable.

process shot of how to make efo riro.

Continue to cook the sauce till oil floats on the top, add half of the smoked fish, dried smelt fish and stir to combine. (You can add little water to the sauce if it is too dry but do not overdo it as efo riro is almost water free)

Add the vegetable to the sauce and stir till all is well incorporated.

Add the remaining smoked mackerel and carefully combine in the vegetable. Check for salt and cook for another 4 minutes. Take it off the heat and set aside. Serve efo riro soup with a swallow of choice or rice and you can even choose to eat it on its own.

Other Nigerian Soup recipes you will love

Ila alasepo

Edikang Ikong

Afia Efere

Ogbono Soup

Egusi Soup

Efo Elegusi

What to eat  with efo riro

Plantain fufu

Pounded Yam

Eba

FAQs

what can I substitute efo tete with

You can use any leafy green vegetable like spinach, kale or collard green

Can I add meat to this recipe?

Check this African Spinach Stew recipe for how to use fresh spinach, meat and other protein of choice to achieve the same result. You can also use stock fish for this recipe

Can I use vegetable oil

If you can’t find palm oil where you live or you don’t use it for personal reasons, then yes, you can use it.

Is locust beans compulsory in this recipe

Yes, it is but if for any reason you can’t source one, then omit it from the list of ingredients. Ensure the stew (base) is well fried and you should still achieve a delicious vegetable soup.

efo riro in a bowl placed over a napkin.

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a bowl of yoruba efo riro.
Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

How to Make Efo Riro

This is the best efo riro recipe you can find anywhere on the internet. If you are looking for how to make efo riro, look no further, you are at the right place. 
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: African, Nigerian
Keyword: Efo riro, How to make efo riro
Servings: 8
Author: Ajoke

Ingredients

  • 3-4 bunches of efo tete about 600g. Substitute efo tete with shoko, spinach or kale
  • 3 red bell peppers tatashe
  • 3 scotch bonnet chillies use according to preference
  • 2 onions
  • 1 cup palm oil use more if you prefer
  • 3 tbsp locust beans Iru woro
  • 1 whole smoked mackerel
  • 2 medium Smoked ponmo washed and diced
  • 2 tbsp Ground crayfish
  • Salt
  • 2 beef boullion I used Nigeria Knorr

Instructions

Prep!

  • I used smoked dried ponmo for this recipe, you can also use fresh ones if you want. If you are using the dried ones, soak them in warm water for at least 36-48 hours. Wash ponmo clean (use wired scourers for easier job) and set aside
  • Pick the vegetable from the stalk and slice into chunks( see photo for reference)
    Rinse vegetable clean, drain and set aside
    Wash locust beans and set aside
    Chop 1 onion and set aside
    Shred the smoked fish into flakes and also set aside
    Blend the peppers with the remaining onions with little water coarsely and set aside (I sieved the blended pepper as I choose not to boil the pepper)

How to cook efo riro

  • Place a pan on  medium heat and add palm oil, heat for about 5 minutes but don’t bleach
  • Add iru woro and chopped onions and fry for about 2 minutes (In this case, I used half of the locust beans and saved the rest before I finished cooking the soup)
  • Add the blended pepper to the palm oil and stir to combine, after about 3 minutes, add the remaining locust beans. Add the diced ponmo and ground crayfish and cook for another 3-4 minutes on low heat
  • Add seasoning (bouillon cube/stock) and pinch of salt. (check for salt at the later stage of the cooking)
  • Whilst you are waiting for the sauce to cook, boil water enough to cover the vegetable. Once the water is boiled, pour over the vegetable and cover with a lid for 5 minutes. Strain and squeeze out excess water from the vegetable.
  • Continue to cook the sauce till oil floats on the top, add half of the smoked fish and stir to combine. (You can add little water to the sauce if it is too dry but do not over do it as efo riro is almost water free)
  • Add the vegetable to the sauce and stir till all is well incorporated.
  • Add the remaining smoked mackerel and carefully combine in the vegetable. Check for salt and cook for another 4 minutes. Take it off the heat and set aside. Serve with a swallow of choice or rice and you can even choose to eat it on its own.

This recipe was originally published in July 2015 but now updated with new photos. Below is one of the pictures used for this recipe in case you are curious.

 

11 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This is efo riro is indeed the best. I made it last night and it was delicious, everyone cleared their plates. I love your recipes!

     
  2. Pls, which vegetables is close to efo tete in UK, thanks

     
  3. Am trying it now,would post it later,thanks alot

     
  4. this Efo is really almighty love it

     
  5. Nice one, Love your blog

     
  6. Mouth watering efo riro

     

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