Simply Signal Recipes: Efo Riro and Iyán

Efo Riro and Iyan. Photo by Isa Cardona | The Signal

In honor of Black history month, Simply Signal Recipes collaborated with the Atlanta-based food blog, Craving Mad, to share this Nigerian meal. Forest Ogunyankin is a Nigerian-American food blogger who cooks various fusion foods and dishes he grew up eating.

This dish is comfort food for him called Efo Riro, which refers to “Efo” (pronounced “Eh-foh”), a Yoruba word for leafy vegetables like collard greens and spinach. Ogunyankin says that eating this reminds him of Southern-style collard greens, except that you eat Efo Riro with fufu, a starchy dough made with cassava, yam or even plantains. 

This dish highlights the links between West African cuisine and its influences around the world, like in Southern “soul food.”

Efo Riro (Nigerian spinach stew):

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Prep Time: 30 minutes


2 pounds chicken breast/thigh, cubed

3-4 red bell peppers, diced

1 or 2 habanero or scotch bonnet peppers, minced 

2 onions, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

4 cups of collard greens, chopped

4 cups of spinach

1 tablespoon dried crayfish

1 tablespoon miso paste

1 tablespoon onion powder

1 tablespoon coriander powder

1 tablespoon African nutmeg

1 Maggi cube

1 tablespoon chile powder

3 tablespoon palm oil 

4 cups “poundo” yam (yam flour)

Kosher salt and pepper to taste


  1. Wash meat and vegetables thoroughly. Pat dry.
  2. Cut meat into cubes.
  3. If using fresh collard greens, cut vertically along the stems. You should only use the leaves as the stem is bitter.
  4. Dice onion and bell peppers.
  5. Mince habanero or scotch bonnet peppers and garlic.


  1. Place a pot on medium-high heat. Season meat with salt, pepper, paprika and coriander, then sear on all sides and set aside.
  2. Blend onions and peppers into a smooth puree, then pour directly into the hot pot. 
  3. Add garlic once the puree has reduced by half.
  4. Add palm oil, and occasionally stir on medium heat.
  5. Once the oil begins to separate and the stew darkens, add onion powder, dried crayfish, Maggi, chili powder, African nutmeg and miso paste. Turn the heat back up to medium-high.
  6. Add the collard greens, and stir. As it wilts, add spinach, and stir to encourage the water to evaporate. You want to remove as much water as possible.
  7. Add the meat from step one, and stir to mix. Turn the heat down to low.
  8. Transfer yam flour to a large pot or metal bowl and mix in boiling water until uniform paste forms. Mix continuously to get rid of lumps, and activate the starches to become slightly “stretchy.”
  9. Roll the dough into hand-sized balls.
  10. Plate and serve.

(Recipe from