Efo Riro

Nigerian Efo Riro Recipe

You know that “efo” situation where the efo sits on one side of the bowl and the water migrates to the other side?  that isn’t efo riro, If efo riro is made right, you shouldn’t have that situation. I cook watery efo every now and again; I crave the saucy stuff especially for rice. This is my authentic efo recipe, for the saucy version see the end of this post. The unique taste of efo riro comes from the use of Locust beans, Bleaching of palm oil and the absence of tomatoes.


Part A

  • 4 Red bell peppers (Tatashe)
  • 1 medium onion bulb
  • 2-3 Scotch Bonnet (Ata Rodo)

Preparation: Combine all of Part A in a blender. Puree until almost smooth. Pour the mixture into a pot, place on medium heat and boil until dried

Part B 

  • 1 cup of palm oil
  • 1 medium onion bulb (thinly sliced)
  • 2 Tablespoon blended crayfish
  • 2 cups shredded fish (dried Catfish preferably) Washed and de-boned
  • Parboiled meat (Goat meat or beef and/or Ponmon ) 6-8 pieces
  • 2 tablespoons whole locust beans (Iru)
  • Salt to taste
  • ½ cup red prawns (head removed)
  • 2-3cube maggi

Part C

  • 3 packs chopped frozen spinach (9oz packs) or enough for 4 cups OR 10 Cups chopped fresh spinach (Efo tete)

Preparation: If using fresh spinach, place the spinach in a bowl, add ½ teaspoon of salt, cover with boiling water and place a lid over the bowl. Allow to rest for 15-20mins.  Rinse out the spinach and squeeze out all excess water.


  • Place a large pot over medium heat, add in the palm oil. Bleach the oil for 5 minutes.
  • Add in the sliced onions and fry until lightly browned
  • Add in the end result of part A and the left over ingredients in part B.  Cover and leave to simmer for 20-25 minutes (The palm oil will float to the top when the sauce is ready).
  • Add in the spinach, combine. Taste and adjust for seasoning, leave to simmer for another 10minutes.


Saucy Efo : Check out this efo recipe or simply rinse and use the fresh spinach in Part C and leave some water in part A.

Healthier Variation: Substitute the palm oil for Groundnut or vegetable oil