How To

How to cook Efo Riro (6 easy steps)

Efo Riro is an African Stewed Spinach, it is not like a regular stew because it has extra things added to it, which makes it more spice and delicious. It requires a lot of ingredients but little work from the cook putting it all together. All you have to do is prepare what you need for the food. Efo riro is gotten from the Yoruba language in Nigeria.

Efo simply means” Green leafy vegetable” or” spinach”, and riro, means” to stir”. Just the name Efo riro means” stirred leafy vegetable”. Efo riro is not to be stirred like that, you have to prepare your sauce, whatever you want to use for your sauce it is your sauce. The sauce usually contains these proteins Meat, Crayfish, Dry Fish, and other Meat or Fish of Choice, you can use all or a selection to spice up your sauce.

Iru (locust bean) is added to the stew which adds flavour to the stew. Though a number of people try to avoid using Iru because of the smell. If you are not a fan of Iru you can skip it, the stew will always come out nice. Just use the right ingredients, follow the instructions and you are good to go.

Before the preparation of Efo riro

  •  I usually blanch my Spinach before I stir them in the sauce – I do this by adding the cut spinach in hot boiling water on high heat then I take it off the heat immediately it reaches its boiling point. I then pour the spinach into a sieve and I rinse it under the coldest water I can get from the tap a couple of times in order to stop the cooking process.
  • When frying the Onions, don’t leave them to burn. Once it turns a bit brown, continue with the rest of the process.
  • Remember to drain off as much water as you can from the Spinach. (Excess water from the Spinach can cause your stew to be too watery)
  • I don’t always use tomatoes in cooking my traditional stewed spinach. However, I see no reason why it can’t be added especially if you are making a lighter version of this stew.
  • I love to use coarsely blended peppers for my stewed Spinach so using a food processor rather than a blender will give you that coarse consistency.
  • This stew is not a vegan stew, nonetheless, for a vegan version, I will advise you to use fried Tofu or mushrooms or a combination of both.
  • It’s very important not to leave the spinach too long on the stovetop, otherwise, the Vegetables will turn brown and lose most of their nutrients in the water.

Ingredients for cooking Efo riro

  • 1.5 lb spinach blanched
  • Peppers 3 large red bell peppers, 2 scotch bonnet, and 1 very small onion
  • 1/4 Cup Palm Oil
  • 2 Tbsp crayfish blended
  • 2 Tablespoon locust bean
  • 1/2 Cup stock Fish About 2 handfuls of shredded
  • 1 Prawn about a handful, Dried
  • 1 Onion medium size- diced
  • 1 Bouillon Cube
  • 1 lb Beef A mixture of Beef, Tripe, and cow Skin.

How to cook Efo Riro

  1. Preheat the Palm oil – I like it hot but not bleached. Add the diced Onion and stir-fry till golden brown.
  2. Add the blended peppers (check notes above for details) and fry until the sauce thickens up.
  3. Season with the stock cube, add Salt to taste, Crayfish, and locust bean. Stir until everything is well blended. 
  4. Add the Meat, Stockfish, and dried Prawns and add some water or stock to thin out the sauce, then cover it up again and allow it to come to a simmer.
  5. Finally, add the spinach and mix thoroughly. Then leave it to cook uncovered for about 2 to 5 minutes. Adjust the seasoning if necessary.
  6. Serve with your favorite swallow like be, Amala, Fufu or Rice, Yam … Enjoy!

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