Some of the origins of soul food are from various parts of West Africa. Today most of us in the west substitute traditional/local vegetables from West Africa with spinach, kale, collard greens, and many other dark leafy greens. Dark leafy greens are good for you and this meal is made with spinach. Efo Riro was introduced to me by way of marriage and goodness, I have not looked back ever since! It is tasty, savory, and a very good option for Vegan and Plantbased recipes.
Efo Riro in the US has been popularized by the Yoruba's from Nigeria but has become a staple for many tribes representing the diverse foods from around West Africa and the African continent. Many West African nations cook their own vegetables in a similar but with entirely different seasonings. To me, this adds depth and wealth of tasty and nutritious African food we can present to the world.
“This is my favorite Nigerian Dish.”
1 red bell pepper
6 Roma medium-sized tomatoes
1/4 cup Mama Sinmi's Red Sauce (optional)
1 scotch bonnet pepper
4 small red onions
1 cup of palm oil
1 tsp olive oil
500-gram fresh spinach (about 16 cups)
2 tbsp dried dawadawa or Iru (locust beans)
2 tbsp vegetable seasoning
1 tbsp curry powder
1 tsp minced ginger
1 tsp minced garlic
salt to taste (optional)
Slice half of an onion and half of a tomato and add to a medium-large saucepan with 1 tsp of olive oil. Cook until soft. Add your palm oil. In a food processor and finely chop up remaining tomatoes, onions, and red peppers into very small pieces. Add this to your saucepan. Cook for about 15-20 mins until the mixture is cooked down. Add your spices and remaining vegetables and mix them together thoroughly.
Wash your spinach and drain excess water, as much as possible (you do not want any excess water because it changes the consistency of your final cooked Efo Riro product). Cut your spinach into 1/4 or 1/8 slices.
When your tomato pureed product is cooked down, gently add your spinach, one scoop at a time, while you fold it in (Do not put all your spinach in at the same time because it is fresh and needs time to wilt into your sauce).
Do not cover your spinach as it's cooking (this will prevent your spinach from overcooking). Keep stirring your spinach until it is mixed together thoroughly. After about 5-10 minutes it will be ready. Add salt to taste if needed. Serve with Pounded Yam or any other Fufu dish. Serve with rice, yam, or potatoes.
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