Nigerian Food Nigerian Soups

How to make Efo Riro

In this article you will learn How to make Efo Riro using a moderate cooking budget.

EFO RIRO (SPINACH SOUP) is the king of all vegetable soups in the Yoruba land just like Edikang Ikong soup is king of soups in Calabar. You will always find the soup in a typical Yoruba home.

Efo-riro with tomatoes is very tasty and it originated from the Yoruba tribe.  Eforiro translates to Stirred Vegetable. Efo simply means ‘Spinach’ or ‘Green leafy vegetable’, and riro, means ‘to stir’.

You stir the Vegetable in a pepper sauce filled with rich proteins, like dried fish, stock fish, crayfish and beef.

Identifying the Efo riro Vegetable

There are a lot of green vegetables in the market such as Ugwu (Fluted pumpkin),Kale(Efo tete) etc. Efo riro with ugwu is also palatable but it is not known with the Yorubas’. It is mostly prepared by the Ibos.

But the best vegetable to use for efo riro is Spinach leaf (Efo shoko) because it has this unique taste and crunchiness. So when you are going to the market go for Spinach leaf.

Identifying the leave is not difficult, just work to any market woman that sells Vegetables and request for Efo Shoko.   If you are on facebook or you like watching watching youtube videos on how to make soups, then you should see this video: efo riro sisi jemimah or the video at the end of this article. It will help you identitfy the shoko leave when you see it.

Efo Riro With0ut Locust Beans(IRU)

Like i earlier mentioned, this soup is typical with the yoruba’s and their method of preparing it or the ingredient they use may not be cool with you, feel free to spice up your own the way you like it.  Like most of our readers don’t like using locust beans or Ogiri because of it’s staunch smell, you can skip it while preparing your own eforiro soup.

Preparing an eforiro soup the yoruba way would inevitably need a handmade traditional fermented condiment called Iru (locust bean). Iru or locust beans is normally added to the sauce of the efo riro to give it a very rich flavour. But a lot of people try to avoid this healthy condiment because of the staunch smell. Like i said earlier, If you don’t like the locust bean you can just skip it.

Some people blanch their vegetables with hot water before cooking the efo riro, I will not advise you to blanch it, to retain the crunchiness and the green colour of the vegetable soup.

Blanching is good when you are freezing or drying your vegetables for storage to prevent the vegetables from changing colour. When you make Efo riro with frozen spinach , you should ensure the green colour of the spinach is still intact or else the soup will not look presentable, that’s why blanching is needed.

Efo riro soup is enjoyable with different swallows. My all time favourite is iyan and efo riro or  eba and efo riro. If you are diabetic or

Finally, make sure you rinse your vegetable before cooking as many times as you can so that all the particles of dirt can be washed away.

how to prepare efo riro soup


Two bunches of Efo soko (Spinach leaf)

5 scotch bonnet (Ata rodo)

3 Red bell pepper (Tatashe)

2 tomatoes (optional)

2 tbsp of grounded crayfish Assorted meat/Cow meat (anyone you prefer)

4 pieces of Cow skin (ponmo)

½ cup of palm oil Smoked fish (preferably, Shawa fish is better)

3 medium-sized onions

Dried stock fish

2 cloves of garlic

2 cubes of chicken seasoning

Salt to taste

efo riro soup

How to Prepare Efo Riro – DIRECTIONS

I will work you through 3 stages. From the preparation point, to when your soup is ready.

Stage One

  • To prepare, blend one onion, Red bell pepper, tomatoes, scotch bonnet and garlic and set aside.
  • Boil and season all the meats and stock fish with a seasoning cube, salt and chopped onions.
  • When you are half-way through the cooking, put in the smoked fish. Smoked fish is usually very hard and dry. Soaking it in hot water is what is commonly done, but this makes it lose some of its flavor, add it shortly before the meats gets properly softened.
  •  Rinse the locust bean and the crayfish. Do not drown the locust bean in water so as not to lose the flavor. Dice the onions and set aside.
  • You need to set aside all the ingredients prepped before you start cooking.

Stage Two

  • Heat up palm oil just a little and fry the onions till it becomes translucent.
  • Add the locust bean first then the pepper mix and fry for some minutes.
  • Fry the pepper till it becomes thick.
  • Once it is fried, add the assorted meat, ponmo and ground crayfish to the pot.
  • Add little meat stock to the pot and stir. You have to be really careful with the stock, so just add like 5 spoonfuls of the meat stock into the sauce, just to avoid a lot of liquid in the soup. Lower the heat of your burner, to make the meats absorb the essence of the sauce. Let it cook for 5 — 8 minutes. Do not use high heat, it will evaporate the stock. You may not need to add salt or even seasoning cube to it, if you get a balanced taste.

Stage Three

  • Add the spinach leaf and dried fish. You have to add the dried fish with the vegetables for some reasons:  So that it doesn’t break into pieces. Dried Fish has a lot of tendencies to absorb all the flavor in the sauce, so don’t let it spend a lot of time in the pot.
  • After adding vegetables, lower the heat of your burner so you don’t lose the crunchiness, green colour and nutritional value of the vegetable. Cook it for about 3 minutes.
  • Your Efo riro is ready, turn off your heat and enjoy it.
  • Efo riro can be served with pounded yam, Rice, Boiled yam, Boiled plantain or any other swallow of your choice.

If you are not confident that you can’t replicate what you just read, Here is a Youtube Video on How to make Efo Riro

How to cook efo riro video

Now that you have learnt How to make Efo Riro using a moderate cooking budget, you may like to see the article we wrote on How to make Banga Soup

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