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; using tomatoes for Efo Riro is an absolute No No! All you need to use are Bell peppers and Scotch bonnets. Definitely no tomatoes!
Also, to get the best out of Efo Riro, you need to use Palm Oil. Some people use vegetable oil though but I’m yet to eat any that’s made with vegetable oil that has wowed me.For me, I’ll say Palm Oil all the way! If you’ve got health concerns or allergies which limits your Palm Oil consumption, then feel free to use your preferred cooking oil.
Efo Riro doesn’t need too much seasoning, curry, thyme or white pepper are unnecessary. All it needs to thrive is very rich beef/chicken stock, this means you need to properly season your meats as the stock is what really determines the outcome. I hardly add seasoning to it during the cooking process, I just rely on the stock….and my ever faithful Knorr Chicken Cubes.
If you’re using Spinach; which is very common, ensure you get rid of practically all the water in it before adding, failure to do this will produce limp and soggy Efo Riro.
Also, try to use as much assorted meats as you possibly can, the more the variety, the better. Another tip is to fry your meats lightly, this helps to firm up the meat and also improves the appearance and taste of your Efo Riro.
Now, let’s cook.
2 bunches Ugwu leaves ( you can also use Spinach or Soko)
3 medium /2 big size bell peppers (Tatashe)
11/2scotch bonnet (Rodo)
1/2 cup Palm Oil
11/2 medium size red onions
Assorted meats of your choice (Shaki, Kpomo, cow leg, smoked turkey or beef are ideal)
Dried stockfish (Panla)
Smoked cat fish
1 tablespoon Locust beans (Iru)
1/2 cup raw/cooked prawns (Optional)
1/4 cup smoked prawns (Optional)
2 Knorr chicken cubes or any bullion cubes of your choosing.
3 tablespoons ground Crayfish
Salt to taste
First, get your core ingredients ready. Efo Riro is a fast cooking dish, so you’ll need to be proactive.
Now, season the meats, add sliced onions and boil on medium heat. Remember to boil the tougher meats first, then add the softer ones. Just before it’s fully cooked, add the Stockfish, boil till tender and set aside.
Sorry, I haven’t got photos of the meat prep process cos I usually boil my meats in bulk and store for future use.
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 so as to retain the nutrients. Slice or chop according to your preference and set aside.
Blend the scotch bonnets and bell peppers and an 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 till fragrant.
Then add the locust beans, fry to release the flavour for another minute….
Now add the blended pepper and two Knorr cubes, let that fry for 15-20 minutes thereabouts or until the pepper dries out and the size reduces by almost half….The consistency should be thick as pictured below….
Add a bit of the meat stock/ chicken stock, if you haven’t got stock, just add water, be careful not to add too much. Just one cup should do.
Let it boil for 2-3 minutes to combine, then add the assorted meats, prawns, crayfish, stockfish and catfish.
Combine and taste, adjust seasoning if required. Leave to cook for a further 10 minutes.
Now add the washed vegetables, combine 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. Efo Riro is also prefect with white rice, boiled yam and plantain.
Do remember to give me a feedback if you try my recipe for Efo Riro and feel free to use the “Share” button below. Enjoy!