Efo Riro is a rich vegetable soup that is native to the Yorubas of Western Nigeria. 






Skill level

Average: 3.1 (21 votes)


  • 750 g beef shank or gravy beef, trimmed, cut into 4 cm pieces
  • 2 red onions, chopped, plus extra, to serve
  • 1 tbsp mild curry powder
  • 1 beef stock cube, crumbled
  • 1 red capsicum, roughly chopped
  • 5 tomatoes, peeled (see Note), chopped or 400 g can chopped tomatoes
  • 4 scotch bonnet chillies (see Note) or 5 long red chillies, seeded, finely chopped
  • 80 ml (⅔ cup) red palm oil or vegetable oil
  • 1 piece stockfish (see Note) or dried fish pieces, soaked overnight, drained
  • 5 small dried prawns (see Note), ground
  • 2 bunches English spinach, leaves and stems roughly shredded
  • steamed rice, to serve

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Place beef, 2 tsp salt, half the onion, curry powder, stock cube and 500 ml water in a large saucepan. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to medium and cook for 35 minutes or until beef is tender. Set aside.

Meanwhile, process capsicum, tomatoes, chillies and the remaining onion in a food processor to a paste. Set aside.

Heat oil in a large saucepan over high heat. Add capsicum paste and cook, stirring, for 10 minutes or until oil starts to separate from paste. Add beef and cooking liquid, stockfish, prawns and spinach. Cover, reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or until spinach has wilted. Scatter with extra onion and serve with rice.


Cut a cross at the base of each tomato, then blanch, in batches, in boiling water for 20 seconds. Refresh in a bowl of iced water. Cool, then remove skins from tomatoes.

Scotch bonnet chillies, from greengrocers, are very hot; wear latex gloves when handling.

You will need to soak the stockfish overnight.

Crayfish stock cubes, dried prawns and egusi are available from African food shops. Dried prawns are also from Asian food shops.
As seen in Feast Magazine, Issue 15, pg70.

Photography by John Laurie