Welcome once again to Bigmama spices, you must’ve been looking for a perfect recipe for Efo Riro, well here is it. This is the best Efo Riro recipe you can find anywhere on the internet. If you are looking for how to make Efo Riro, look no further, you are at the right place. It is delicious and quick and it qualifies for low-carb Nigerian food as it can be eaten on its own.
What Exactly Is Efo Riro?
Efo Riro is a Yoruba word and it loosely means ‘stirred spinach’. In Nigeria, Efo Riro is made with ‘Efo Shoko’ (Lagos spinach) or ‘Efo Tete’ (African spinach).
These are the popular and widely available local spinach varieties. In other parts of the world, any type of spinach greens will suffice.
This West African stew is popular in countries such as Nigeria, Ghana, and Cameroon. The recipes are similar with only minor differences, but my version is popular among the Yoruba tribe in Nigeria.
Ingredients Used In The Production of Efo Riro (Nigerian Spinach Stew)
Spinach: I use approximately 8 cups of chopped spinach. Fresh or frozen spinach can be used.
Meat: You can use beef, lamb, goat meat, chicken, smoked catfish, tripe (shaki), or any other meat you like, or even a combination of meats! You can leave out the meat or use mushrooms as a vegan option.
Palm oil: Although the traditional recipe calls for palm oil, I made this spinach stew with olive oil and it was still delicious!
Vegetables: Plum (roma) tomatoes, red bell peppers, habanero peppers, and onions are among the vegetables. Because they are denser and have less juice, plum tomatoes are ideal for Nigerian stews.
Broth: When using fresh spinach, a small amount of broth is added for flavour and to reduce the risk of the stew burning.
Spices: I used bouillon, black pepper, Bigmama spices Maggi, cayenne pepper, ground crayfish, Bigmama spices soup seasoning, and salt as spices. Ground crayfish is a Nigerian condiment similar to fish sauce that can be purchased at an African store or on Amazon. If you don’t have any, leave it out. As an optional garnish, I add crushed red pepper flakes.
How To Prepare Efo Riro
Begin by cooking whatever meat you intend to use. I rinsed my goat meat under running water before boiling it with a teaspoon of salt, bouillon, and black pepper. Allow it to boil until tender.
I did not include the cooking time in the recipe because it varies greatly depending on the type of meat used. It’s also common to use whatever leftover meat you have in the fridge.
In a food processor, combine the tomatoes, red bell pepper, habanero pepper, and half of the onion. Set aside the other half of the onion to be chopped.
If you’re using fresh spinach, cut it into smaller pieces and rinse it in a colander, squeezing out as much water as possible. While you begin cooking, leave it in the colander to drain the excess water.
This will keep the spinach stew from becoming too watery.
I prefer fresh spinach for this, but frozen will suffice. If using frozen, thaw it in the microwave for a few minutes before draining the excess water.
Additionally, wash and drain the mushrooms (if using mushrooms).
In a medium-sized pot, heat 12 cup palm oil, then add your onions and stir for about 2 minutes. After about a minute, add in your blended tomato and pepper mixture, followed by your spices. If you want it less spicy, use only 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper.
I like plum tomatoes for this recipe because they are not too watery after blending. If you use a different type of tomato, you may need to separate the blended mixture and cook it separately until some of the water evaporates. Use medium heat or it will start to splash all over the place.
When using fresh spinach, add 14 cup of broth/stock. If you don’t have any, you can substitute water, but the spices will need to be adjusted.
If using frozen spinach, no water is needed because frozen spinach already contains water.
Allow the goat meat, mushrooms, and any other meat of choice to cook for another 5 minutes to soak up the flavours.
When the water begins to boil, add the spinach. It will most likely fill the pot and appear to spill over, but it will not.
Stir intermittently for 5 minutes, and the spinach will shrink significantly. Taste for salt and pepper, and add more spices if desired.
I like mine slightly chewy, so I don’t leave it in for more than 5 minutes, but if you prefer it softer, leave it in for a few minutes longer on low heat.