EFO RIRO IS A FAMOUS, DELICIOUS, AND FAVOURITE YORUBA TRADITIONAL SOUP AS WELL AS STEW:
I must admit that I did not grow up in Yoruba land. I spent my early days in the Eastern part of Nigeria and the then Southern part of British Cameroons. To be sincere, the first time I visited Lagos was the time I was about to proceed to United Kingdom. I have to go to Lagos to obtain my visa from the British Embassy in Lagos.
It was in Kumba Cameroons, I first ate the Yoruba soup and stew Efo riro! I was used to eating Egusi soup until one of my fellow student friends took me and a few of our friends to a famous Yoruba "Mama Iyabo Canteen!" It was a few yards from our college.
At the canteen, we ordered eba gari and then followed up with the soup rituals. It started with 'Efo' which means vegetable soup, which followed with two spoons of egusi, then, two spoons of okra soup; 2 spoonful of ogbono soup; then four spoons of stew and chunks of Okporoko (stock fish) and pieces of bush meat and goat liver all mixed together in a large soup bowl.
From that day, my friends and I became addicted to 'Mama Iyabo' canteen cooking and delicacy till we left Cameroon. Our addiction was so much that we have even to steal to make sure that we eat at Mama Iyabo canteen at least every day!
EFO RIRO IS ALMOST LIKE MANY OTHER DELICIOUS AND NUTRITIOUS SOUPS COOKED IN NIGERIA:
To be sincere, Efo riro is as much as many other mouth-watering, finger-licking delicious soups cooked in Nigeria. However, it owes its originality to the Yoruba tribe just as Edika-ekong to Calabar-Cross River state, and Egusi soup to Igbo people.
Efo riro is not much different from many of these delicious soups cooked in Nigeria because the condiments and ingredients are two common with each soup. For example, you can't make any delicious soup in Nigeria with out pieces of goat meat, snails, stock fish, bush meat, smoked fish, palm oil, crayfish, spinach, including the versatile fluted pumpkin leaves (Ugu)! What I mean is that all Nigerian soups are similar to one another no matter its originality!
One of my Yoruba sons-in-law challenged me to write about "Efo riro" because he had read about other types of Nigerian soups featured in my website.
The good thing about many of the Nigerian soups are the facts that they are healthy eating stuff because they are always baptized with spinach,assorted vegetables such as fluted pumpkin leaves, 'Ora' leaves, bitter leaves (Onugbu), greens, and even hibiscus leaves to mention a few.
The good thing about the soups, I repeat is that these leaves and vegetables used in cooking them are notably high in Vitamins such as A, C, E and K. Believe it or not, they are equally rich in irons.
RECIPES/ PREPARATION/INGREDIENTS FOR EFO RIRO SOUP/STEW THIS IS FOR 4 PEOPLE AND 4 SERVINGS:
It is universally known among Nigerians that "Good Soup na moni-makam!" This literally means that if you want to cook Efo riro or any other Nigerian soups, you really have to dip deep in your wallet and pockets else you are not going to make a delicious, nutritious and luxurious soup.
Think for a while, what type of soup can you make without meat, snail, stock fish, chicken pieces, smoked fish to mention a few. My late mother told me that during the Biafran /Nigerian war, it was virtually impossible to make a soup with meat even crayfish amnng the Igbo people. Stock fish which is Igbo peoples's special fish was not even heard of not to mention buying some to make soup with.
However, poverty and scarcity can be a blessing in disguise. She told me they ate all kinds of spinach, grasses; leaves, including cassava leaves and these sustained them through out the war period! Little did she know about the vitamins those leaves contained. Those leaves were super loaded with the vitamins and irons. Nigerian Restaurants!
1..4LBS of meat (Goat, lamb, cow, beef; chicken
2..4bunches of spinach/ fluted pumpkin leaves (ugu)
3..2lbs of Bush meat, and 2lbs of cow leg and liver
4..3lbs of stock fish (okporoko) cut into sizes
5..Smoked fish and fresh fish
6..3lbs of kanda (pomo) + ground crayfish,
7..Large snails "Congo Meat" (cleaned and washed in lemon or lime
8..Ideal green veg. 'Soko or tete'
9 Fresh tomatoes and fresh peppers ( finely ground) + Tomato puree
10..2 large onion chopped and fried in vegtable or palm oil. To make it ideal yoruba, palm oil must be prefered to other types of oils.
11..Seasonings these include 2 cubes of maggi, or oxo and mixed spices as well as salt.
These are the most favoured ingredients to cook Efo riro soup or stew. It is sometimes referred as stew because some people can eat it with rice, boiled yams, plantain etc.
These can equally give the eaters with what should be called balanced mixed diets. The carbohydrate contents are normal when balanced with the various meat and vegetables. That make them super nutritious soup/stew.
Cooking Efo riro soup /stew is very easy but then, there is an art in cookery. There are talented cooks and there are equally lousy cooks even if you give them the most expensive ingredients, they will not cook and present delicious meals.
Once the stock fish are washed and boiled to tender and soft state, put them in a plate or bowl. This applies to the various meat stuff . Once all these are ready, fry the onions with palm oil, and add large quantity of water since the soup is for 4 people and 4 servings.
As soon as the water is boiled, put all the ingredients into the put with boiling water.You can fry the meat with along with the onions, tomato puree until they are brownish.
You can choose to make the stew separately and add spoonfuls into the soup dishes like Mama Iyabo. Or you can mix all together in the port, and mix and stir occasionally or intermittently until the whole Efo riro soup is cooked. You can allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes and then be greeted by the sweet Efo riro aroma oozing out from the pot.
Efo riro is definitely one one of the famous, nutritious and delicious soups as much as the big sister Edika-ekong! It can be eaten with akpu, Amala, Eba gari, pounded yam, corn meal, rice, boiled yams boiled or fried plantain and tuwo etc Nigerian foods customs!