Efo Riro Recipe and Wine Pairing

Do you love your greens? Then you will definitely be a fan of Efo Riro, a Nigerian spinach soup or stew native to the Yoruba tribe. Efo means “green leafy vegetable” and riro, “to stir”. Stick ‘em together, and you get ‘stirred leafy greens.’ What did we tell you? If you love your greens, you’ll definitely love ‘stirred leafy greens’!

This dish is yet another example of an “unconventional” spice profile when it comes to pairing with wine. So when you think of Efo riro, you don’t think wine. It is complex, with several layers of flavour, and lots of spicy peppers. Usually Efo riro is served with a hot dough made out of yam, cassava or maize flour. These are known as Nigerian swallow foods. Swallow foods are so versatile because you use them to scoop up, hold and swallow your main dish. This is because swallow foods also have no flavour of their own. This allows the main dish to stand out and shine!

You may be asking yourself, what wine could possibly stand up to that? We suggest a crisp Riesling or a fruity Zinfandel. So go ahead and try both and let us know which you prefer! You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how well efo riro and wine pair!

Efo Riro Recipe and Wine Pairing

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Recipe by WineCollective Course: MainCuisine: NigerianDifficulty: Easy
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A local and traditional Nigerian dish, this is stirred spinach loaded with meat, spices and complex layered flavours. It is best served wih a side dish of your choice such as rice or fufu!  


  • 1 lb beef (use your favourite cuts and trimmings)

  • 1/2 cup oil (Use an oil of your choice, but palm oil is traditionally used)

  • 2 bouillon cubes

  • 1/2 onion, medium-diced

  • 1 Tsp oregano

  • Salt to taste

  • 1 cup water

  • 1 small onion

  • 2 scotch bonnet peppers

  • 3 large red bell peppers

  • 2 Tbsp crayfish, crushed

  • 2 Tbsp locust bean (skip if you cannot find)

  • 1/2 cup stockfish (dried cod)

  • 1.5 lb spinach, blanched

  • 1 handful dried prawns


  • Begin by washing and cutting the beef into bite-sized pieces.
  • Grab a pot and add ¼ cup of oil to it, and heat it over medium-high heat. Add the beef to the pot and add 1 bouillon cube, half of the diced onion, oregano, and salt to taste.
  • Stir-fry until the meat is well-browned, for about 5 to 7 minutes. Add water (the beef will also release water) and simmer until cooked to your liking.
  • Take the small onion, scotch bonnet peppers and red peppers and blend to a coarse paste in a food processor. This will be your base sauce.
  • Take another pot, skillet or utensil of your choice and preheat the oil. Add the diced onion and stir-fry till golden brown. Then add the blended peppers and fry until the sauce thickens up.
  • Season with the second stock cube, salt to taste, crayfish and locust bean. Stir until everything is well incorporated.
  • Add the cooked meat, stockfish, and dried prawns and add some water or stock to thin out the sauce, then cover it up again and allow it to come to a simmer.
  • Finally, add the spinach and mix thoroughly. Leave it to cook uncovered for about 2 to 5 minutes. Adjust the seasoning if necessary.
  • Serve with yam, fufu or rice!

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Want to continue to challenge wine tasting norms and explore the world of spice? Join us as we continue our journey down the spicy road, our next stop is: Southern India. Try out this chilli-packed Lamb Vindaloo recipe next!

If you are feeling spicy, join WineCollective today. You’ll get a selection of curated wines that are only available to WineCollective members delivered to your door each month, accompanied by wine pairing suggestions so that you can continue to explore new and exciting flavour experiences.