African Cuisine in Focus: Efo Riro!

We bet you didn’t know that some vegetables could be of way more use than you ever imagined. Say hello to a delicious soup very popular among the Yoruba people in the South Western part of Nigeria called EFO RIRO.

Efo Riro is a kind of vegetable soup mixed with all sorts of meat and seafood. It is very nutritious as it contains all the necessary nutrients needed for a balance diet. It can be served both at parties and in the comfort your home.

We will be revealing the kinds of vegetables that can be used to make efo riro, the ingredients needed, how to cook it and the end result.
The various kinds of vegetables that can be used to make the soup include;

  1. Wild Lettuce (Efo Yanrin)
  2. Bitter leaf (Efo Ewuro)
  3. Efo tete
  4. Lagos Spinach (Efo shoko-shokoyokoto)
  5. Waterleaf (Gbure)
  6. African Eggplant leaf (Efo Igbo)
  7. Malabar Spinach (Amunututu)
  8. African Basil (Efirin)
  9. Fluted pumpkin leaf (Ugu)
  10. Yoruban Bologi (Efo Ebolo)
  11. Parsley *There is no Yoruba name for parsley, as it is not originally West African

The ingredients needed are;photogrid_1478563183102

  1. A bunch of any of the above vegetable (you can decided to mix two if you wish)
  2. Pepper base
  3. Half cup of locust bean
  4. Half cup of dried cray fish
  5. Shrimps
  6. Shredded dry fishphotogrid_1478563483587
  7. Beef
  8. Tripe
  9. Cow hide
  10. 3 cooking spoons of Palm oil
  11. Salt
  12. Seasoning cubes

Here is a tip on how to get the right pepper base required; Get 2 pieces of medium onions, 7 pieces of raw tomatoes, 5 pieces of habanero pepper – less or more depending on how peppery you’d like your soup to taste and 5 pieces of red bell pepper.photogrid_1478563012502

After thorough rinsing, put them into a blender, add a little water and puree until it’s roughly blended.

Note: It is advisable to get the pepper roughly blend rather than smoothly blend so as to achieve the desired look and taste. Remember to taste the puree once you’re done blending and if it tastes too sharp, add more onions or red pepper bells.
Once you have achieved the desired pepper base, you can then proceed to cook your Efo Riro.

Cooking Steps:

  1. Get the vegetables chopped.  You can chop with either a knife and chopping board or an electrical processor.
  2. Boil the chopped vegetables for about 10 to 12 minutes with very little potash and sieve when done.photogrid_1478564443598
  3. Boil and season all the meat with salt, sliced onions, and seasoning cubes (while waiting for this to be done, you can proceed to the next steps)
  4. Thoroughly rinse the cow hide.
  5. Soak the dried pepper and crayfish inside a bowl of hot water and add a little salt
  6. Proceed to boil the pepper base until it forms a thick paste.
  7. Give the locust bean a good rinse but be careful not to drown it in water so it doesn’t lose its flavor.
  8. Dice onions and set aside. * keep an eye on the boiling meat; drain the water out of the fish.photogrid_1478563865121
  9. Heat up the palm oil in your cooking pot till it’s translucent and add the diced onions.
  10. Add the boiled pepper, salt, seasoning, locust bean and fry for some minutes till it forms a very thick paste. Once it is fried, add the pieces of meats, fish and shrimps.
  11. Cook with a low heat so the meat and fish can absorb the essence of the sauce. Leave to cook for 5 to 7 minutes.
  12. Add the boiled vegetables and stir to mix with the sauce. Stir carefully to avoid the fish from breaking down. *reduce the heat so the soup does not lode its nutrients.
  13. Let the soup simmer for 3-5 minutes

And Voila!! Your Efo Riro is ready.

It can be served with pounded yam, corn jellos (eko), yam flour, cassava flour, white rice, and so on.




P.S. You can always make use of any kind of meat or fish for efo riro. Just go with any meat of your choice; chicken, snail, pork, or any kind of fresh, dry or smoked fish you wish.
Photo credits: Dooney’s kitchen (dk),, dobby signature, afro cook house.

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Yemi says:

    wow I wish I saw this earlier cos I prepared this meal last night and of course it was awesome lol but my question is, can we use more than 1 kind of vegetable to cook, like can we use ugu and waterleaf at the same time… awesome recipe BTW


  2. Yemi says:

    lol I am a proper Yoruba guy so I wanna give parsley a Yoruba name now,…’parsley’! leni oruko yin ma je ‘paseli’ lol #done

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahahhaha. Nice one Yemi ..we are taking notes


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