A Nigerian Food Blog: Cooking, baking and enjoying food in Lagos
Have you ever seen how much palm oil goes into Efo Riro? My goodness, you could drown a small goat in it. Don’t get me wrong, I do love a good bowl of Efo as much as the next person, but all that oil, all the time cannot be good for you. So I came up with this version that uses literally one tablespoon of oil and that’s it – and it doesn’t even have to be palm oil – you can use olive oil if you like. For those of you in other parts of the world, Efo is one of the local varieties of spinach that grows in Nigeria. When the health nuts tell you to gobble up you dark green leafy vegetables, this is exactly the sort of leaf we’re talking about – really green, intense flavour, substantially fibrous and quite hardy. When I lived abroad, I would use organic baby spinach to make a dupe Efo Riro when I was craving a taste from home. With a bit of palm oil, maggi and crayfish, almost any green leaves will imitate the effect of Efo Riro if you shut your eyes while you’re chewing and transport yourself out of the snow and into hot sweaty Lagos, complete with all the background noise and generator smoke…
Luckily I live here in Lagos now so I don’ t need to fantasize anymore and I don’t need to use impostors :). I can find actual Efo anytime I like. If you live in Accra, head to Tudu – there are some Yoruba ladies in the market there who sell it. If you live in London, put on your bullet proof vest, say your prayers, and head to Peckham. They get fresh leaves flown in every other morning from Lagos, and a fiver will get you a good amount. If you don’t feel like an adventure, then just use spinach – fresh or frozen – either is fine. Anyway, without further ado, here are some pictures of the preparation and resultant meal. Method as always, below.