Efo Riro- Yoruba signature spinach soup

Efo riro is derived from Yoruba language in Nigeria. Efo ”Green leafy vegetable” or ”spinach”, and riro, ”to stir”. Traditionally, the Locust bean (Iru) and Crayfish adds a wonderful depth of flavor to this stew but if this isn’t your style you can definitely skip it. Smoked Turkey will be a good alternative in this case.


1- I usually blanch my Spinach before I stir them in the sauce. This is done by adding the cut spinach in hot boiling Water on a high heat and I take it off immediately once it comes to a boil. Then I rinse it under the coldest Water I can get from the Tap a couple of times and I drain off as much water as I can from the Spinach. (Excess water from the Spinach can cause your stew to be too Watery)

2- I also don’t always use Tomatoes in cooking the spinach and I just coarsely blend the peppers. For this recipe I used: 3 large red bell peppers, 2 scotch bonnet and 1 very small onion.

3- It’s very important not to leave the Efo riro too long on the stove top, otherwise the Vegetables will turn brown and lose all it’s nutrients.

Required ingredients for Efo riro

  1. 11/2 pounds blanched spinach
  2. Blended Peppers (3 large red bell peppers, 2 scotch bonnet and 1 very small onion)
  3. 1/4 Cup Palm Oil
  4. 2 Tbsp blended crayfish
  5. 2 Tablespoon locust bean
  6. About 2 handful of shredded stock Fish
  7. 1 handful of dried Prawn
  8. 1 medium size Onion- diced
  9. 1 seasoning Cube
  10. Meat of choice (pre cooked)

Directions for making Efo riro

  • preheat the Palm oil – I like it hot but not bleached then add the diced
  • Onion and stir fry that until it’s golden brown.
  • Add the blended peppers (check notes above for details) and fry until the
  • Sauce becomes thick, then add then stock cube, Salt to taste, Crayfish and locust bean, mix it together and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
  • 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.
  • Finally, add the Spinach and mix it together thoroughly, then leave it to cook uncovered for about 2 to 5 minutes depending on the quantity of your spinach.
  • Serve with your favorite swallow like be, Amala, Fufu or Rice, Yam……Enjoy!

Watch a detailed video on how to make Efo riro below!


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  1. I followed your recipe for efo riroand it was amazing. Gof bless. This is the second recipe from your site that I have tried today. God bless


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