Thursday, 3 April 2014

Efo Riro: Vegetable Soup

"Efo Riro" is a delicious soup which is native to the Yorubas in Nigeria; simply translating to "Vegetable Soup". It is rich in flavour and cooked with various meats or fishes; depending on one's personal taste.

There are several leaves that can be used to cook this soup; such as pumpkin leaves, water leaves or green amaranth i.e. "Tete" . However, if you are someone who lives in the diaspora like myself; a good substitute is the amazing and ever-available Spinach leaves. You can either use the fresh spinach leaves from your local afro-Caribbean food stores or use the frozen ones your local supermarkets.

Moving on..... I must say, everyone cooks Efo Riro differently, but just to say, a perfect Efo Riro is one which isn't too watery.... Also, I know Iru (Locust Beans) does not appeal to every individual, but I can assertively say it is one crucial ingredient that should be used. "Iru Ni Oko Efo Riro": Locust Beans is the perfect partner for Efo Riro (IMHO). 

This Recipe focuses on "Fishy" Efo Riro

Frozen Spinach (1 kg)
Plum tomatoes (1 Can)
Scotch bonnet peppers (x3)
Ball Pepper: Tatase (x1)
Onion (2 bulbs)
Fresh mackerel (1 whole fish)
Palm oil 
Iru (1 tablespoonful)
Smoked fish (1 handful)
Crayfish (1 handful)
Seasoning: Knorr chicken cubes (x2)
Salt to taste
Optional: Stockfish

  1. Blend the tomatoes, peppers and an onion bulb;
  2. Cut and wash the mackerel;
  3. Wash the smoked fish and crayfish with boiling hot water;
  4. Chop the remaining onion bulb into cubes
  5. Heat the palm oil on medium heat for 3 minutes (NOT BLEACHED)
  6. Add the chopped onion and fry for 11/2 mins.
  7. Add the blended pepper mixture and let fry for another 5 minutes on low heat
  8. Add the mackerel, seasoning cubes, iru and salt. 
  9. Let cook for another 5 minutes
  10. Add the smoked fish and crayfish
  11. Let cook for another 3 minutes. 
  12. Add the drained spinach leaves and let simmer for 3-5 minutes on low heat 
  13. Voila!!!! Food is ready

N.B: Efo Riro can be served with rice or any swallow (eba, amala, pounded yam, ground rice, semolina etc)

PS: Here is another version of Efo Riro with Beef and Tripe (Shaki) 

And another version of Efo Riro, substituting Spinach for Tètè with Mushrooms and Smoked Turkey

Your girl, 


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