A Classic Nigerian Vegetable Soup-How To Prepare Efo Riro

Efo riro

Efo Riro (also known as Efo Irri) is a delicious Nigerian Vegetable Soup that you can make in less than an hour. Surprisingly easy, visually stimulating and packed with both flavour and nutrition, this is one soup that anyone can prepare. It’s also a great way of using up the extra veggies in your fridge or garden.

It is a traditional Nigerian vegetable soup that originated in the Yoruba-speaking region of the country. Without locust beans and palm oil, efo riro is incomplete. Efo Tete or efo Shoko are the ideal vegetables for this meal.

The African Stewed Spinach, also known as Efo riro, is a one-pot stew with multiple levels of taste. It necessitates a large number of components yet demands little effort from the cook to put it all together (as long as you already have all your ingredients prepped).

It consists of a variety of root vegetables and herbs and is typically served as a dish at special occasions such as weddings, funerals, christenings/birthdays, and other family celebrations.

Efo riro is a Nigerian word taken from the Yoruba language. Efo means “spinach” or “green leafy vegetable,” and riro means “to stir.” So, in essence, Efo riro means “stirred leafy vegetable.” We don’t just stir this by itself; we mix it in a rich pepper sauce with Meat, Crayfish, Dry Fish, and any Meat or Fish of Choice.

This stew is generally seasoned with Iru (locust bean), a fermented traditional condiment that lends a remarkable depth of flavour. However, due to the strong odour, several people avoid this highly nutritious condiment. If you don’t like Iru, you can skip it.

Also, crayfish is nearly a requirement for traditional Yoruba style Efo riro, but if you don’t have access to it, I recommend using smoked fish or smoked turkey to give your stew the much-needed umami taste without adding spice cubes.

Today we will be looking at how you can prepare it at home. It is a straightforward recipe to prepare at home. You can eat it with Eba, Fufu, Rice etc.

Vegetable Soup Ingredients

Vegetable Soup


Cow tripe (Shaki)

Cowskin (Ponmo)

Dry fish

Pepper mixtures(Red bell peppers, Scotch Bonnet peppers, chilli pepper)

Ground crayfish


Seasoning cubes

Locust beans (iru)


Before you begin;

Wash the vegetables and cut them into large chunks. Soak the veggie in hot water for 3 minutes, then drain and set aside.

Set aside the washed locust beans.

Soak the dry fish until tender, then debone it.

Remove the seeds from the peppers and blend coarsely.

Cooking method

  1. Begin cooking the caw tripe on high heat with a small amount of water. When the cow tripe is ready, add the meat, chopped onions, salt, and seasoning cube, and continue cooking.
  2. Place the palm oil in a separate saucepan and heat it. When the oil is hot, add the remaining onions and cook for 2 minutes.
  3. Cook for a minute after adding the locust beans. Pour in the blended pepper mixture and stir well. Season with salt, seasoning cube, and crayfish. Allow for roughly 20 minutes of cooking time.
  4. Once the oil has floated on the surface, add the smocked fish, ponmo, and meats. Stir in the salt to taste.
  5. Add the vegetables to the sauce, stir thoroughly, and then cover and boil for about 4 minutes. Remove the pot from heat after a few minutes.
  6. Your Efo riro is complete.

As you’ve probably heard, eating vegetable soup is a rich source of nutrition. Vegetables in soup form are rich in vitamins and minerals, including potassium, manganese, magnesium, and vitamin E. They’re also high in folate, which plays a critical role in preventing birth defects.

And Nigerians like to eat their efo riro soup with extra peppers in it. They believe that pepper added to the soup makes the person who eats it more attractive by improving their complexion and making them look healthy. We know that might sound crazy to people outside of Nigeria—but we couldn’t resist giving it a try!

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