fresh and rich Efo riro (vegetable soup)

Efo Riro (vegetable soup)

Efo Riro (vegetable soup) unlike most other Nigerian vegetable soups, start with a base of a combination of peppers. From mild to hot peppers, each contributing something special to the delectable pot of soup. Efo Riro is native to the Yorubas of western Nigeria, the same way editing ikong is to the Efiks of south-south Nigeria and Onugbu soup to the Igbos of eastern Nigeria.

rich Efo riro (vegetable soup)

Thanks to Bose, my agoyin friend, Efo riro has been such a regular feature on my dinner table. Son no. 3 will always give a “Yaay” before, and a thumbs up, after each Efo riro meal. It is very simple and suits most palates.

Efo riro is not a long cooking soup and shoko is the vegetable mostly used.

shoko vegetable for Efo riro (vegetable soup)

If shoko, which is highly perishable, is not readily available, other green vegetables can be used, e.g tete, spinach (fresh or frozen), ugu, bitter-leaf.

To prepare Efo riro (vegetable soup):

300g beef
100g tripe, (intestines)
100g cow skin, (kpomo, kanda)
230g tatashe
140g scotch bonnet (fresh pepper)
400g shombo
850g shoko leaves, 1 large bunch 
stockfish (optional)
dry fish
1/2 - 1 cup palm oil
1 1/2 cups chopped onions (1 large)
1/2 cup Iru
1/4 cup ground crayfish
2-3 seasoning cubes
1 1/2 cups water + stock


Wash assorted meat well, especially the entrails.

mixed meat for Efo riro (vegetable soup)


Wash the stock fish. Place both in a pot with little water and boil till almost tender.

Keep topping up the water, a little at a time, as it reduces.

Soak dry fish in boiling hot water for 2 minutes, rinse well in cold water.

Add to the boiling meat and cook until tender.

boiling fish and meat for Efo riro (vegetable soup)

The stock should be about 1 to 1 1/2 cups, if not, boil the stock down.

Meanwhile, grind tatashe, scotch bonnet and shombo together.

Pour into a clean dry pot and place over medium heat, boil till it is dry.

boiled peppers forEfo riro (vegetable soup)


It should have lost as much moisture as possible without burning and there will be holes in it with no water bubbles coming through.

Pick shoko, remove stalks and buds.

Chop into large chunks and wash thoroughly.

shredded shoko vegetable for for Efo riro (vegetable soup)

Put shoko in a pot with enough water covering it. Place over high heat and bring to a boil.

Leave to boil for 1 minute, take off the heat, pour into a sieve to drain. This removes some of the bitterness from the vegetable.

Rinse immediately in cold water and squeeze out as much water as you can. Set aside.

Rinse iru in water to remove sand and grit.


To put efo riro (vegetable soup) together:

In a dry pot, put palm oil, and place over medium heat, do not bleach.

When hot, add onions and fry till it is translucent and soft.

onions frying for Efo riro (vegetable soup)

Add iru and fry for about 30 seconds.

Add the boiled down peppers, stir and reduce the heat to low.

pepper and iru for Efo riro (vegetable soup)

Fry till pepper is dry and has a thin coating of oil on top. Stir often to avoid burning.

Add half of the stock and cook till sauce has reduced.

Then add assorted meat, dry fish, stockfish, crayfish, seasoning cubes and 1 cup of stock.

stew and meat in a pot for Efo riro (vegetable soup)

Stir and taste, then add salt.

Simmer till the taste of all ingredients are well blended together and soup has thickened, about 7-8 minutes.

Add shoko, stir and cover.

delicious pot of Efo riro (vegetable soup)

Continue to simmer till shoko has softened about 3 minutes.

Take off the heat.

Your delicious Efo Riro Soup is ready.

fresh and rich Efo riro (vegetable soup)

Enjoy with amala, pounded yam or any swallow.

Efo riro (vegetable soup) is also excellent with rice, agidi / eko (corn paste pudding), yam, plantain etc.

It is a very versatile soup just like most Nigerian vegetable soups, like the Nigerian vegetable soup, Edikang ikong, Afang etc, they can be eaten with a variety of other dishes.


  • If Spinach is frozen, defrost and be sure to squeeze out as much water as possible, so as not to add too much liquid to the soup.
  • The peppers don’t need to be very well pureed, in fact, they should not be well pureed.
  • If the meat stock is too much, boil it down to make it more concentrated instead of throwing out the excess.
  • This concentrated stock adds to the depth of flavour of Efo riro (vegetable soup).
  • If you don’t want to boil your shoko, pour boiling water over the shoko and let stand for 1 minute. Rinse immediately in cold water and squeeze out as much water as you can.
  • In the absence of iru, use it’s dry version, Dawadawa.


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