I am making, Efo Riro which is simply vegetables stirred in a pepper/tomato base with addition of meats and iru(fermented locust beans). Shoko or shokoyokoto is the vegetable of choice for when making Efo Riro. In recent times we have seen so many pictures of this soup on line thanks to food bloggers. If you live in Nigeria you must I am sure you sometimes wonder how come the vegetable is so green in food pictures. Okay let me tell you , those dishes are made with frozen English spinach, This is the vegetable you get when living in Europe or USA. Back home in Nigeria , the vegetable is all fresh and most times organic. I love my freshly harvested veggies but they also contain lots of water which is why we blanch.
Today I am sharing a method to wilt your vegetable without using hot and cold water. What to do is heat up your pot or pan till very hot and stir fry the chopped vegetables till it wilts and the water dries up. This should take about one minute or two. This method helps to retain the green color and crunchiness. I prefer to use the variety of Shoko that is called ‘shoko oko’ which is the organic variety. The ‘agric’ variety which is grown with lots of fertilizer contains a lot of water. You may find some variety with the reddish tinge, they are all good.
So today here is your Efo Riro that has the right balance of liquid. Surely we do not want a watery stew nor a a very dry one. Enjoy my offering.
Recipe for making Efo Riro
1 bunch Shoko
I cup cooked Goat meat
5-6 pieces fresh or dry prawn
2 big Tatashe( peppers)
Handful Scotch Bonnet Pepper
1 whole medium size Onion
2 fresh Tomatoes
1 cup Palm oil
Seasoning cube to taste
I tablespoon ground Crayfish
One table spoon Iru ( fermented locust beans)
Salt to taste
Pick and wash the shoko. You should retain the soft stems for the nutritional benefit for your gut.
Cut the shoko into large chunks and set aside
Wash and blend coarsely the tatashe, onion and scotch bonnet pepper .
Heat the oil and fry the pepper blend till cooked and well fried. Add iru and seasoning to taste and continue frying. You may need to lower the heat to allow the vegetables cook well. You can find dry iru these days in shops. This is real progress in our culinary evolution.
Add the goat meat and prawns and cook for another 8 minutes. Taste and correct seasoning and turn off the heat
When sauce is ready heat a sauce pan till very hot and stir fry the vegetables . This is to wilt the vegetable and reduce the liquid. It takes about one minute to wilt each batch of vegetable. Make sure the pan is very hot each time you have to fry.
After frying each batch of vegetable pour into the sauce. When all the vegetable has been fried , return the sauce pot to the burner. Stir in the vegetable well into the sauce. I will advise to then cooked for only 2 minutes.
If you find that having rested the sauce for about 10 minutes you have more liquid than you desire, simply tilt the pot , scoop out some of the liquid into the sauce pan you had used in fry the vegetable and boil down . You then can pour back your sauce into this reduced liquid, stir well and serve.
I enjoyed my Efo Riro with boiled half ripe plantain and it was yum.