This is a popular dish of the Yoruba, one of the largest ethnic groups in Africa. In the Yoruba language, dodo means fried plantains, and efo means leafy green vegetables, commonly spinach—here, the sweet plantains are a foil to the spicy spinach stew. Essential to Nigerian cuisine, unrefined red palm oil gets its color from naturally occurring beta carotene. For a vegetarian version, substitute 1 pound sliced mushrooms for the beef and use vegetable bouillon cubes. In Step 3, simmer the mushrooms in the sauce for 5 minutes.

EatingWell.com, May 2022

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Credit: Photographer / Greg DuPree, Food Stylist / Margaret Dickey, Prop Stylist / Kay Clarke

Recipe Summary

total:
50 mins
active:
50 mins
Servings:
6
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Ingredients

Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Peel onion, reserving the skin. Dice the onion.

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  • Heat palm oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the diced onion and iru; cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in tomato sauce, water, bouillon cubes, salt and Cameroon pepper. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until the sauce has reduced and thickened, 5 to 10 minutes.

  • Add beef to the sauce and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes. Add spinach, in batches, stirring to distribute the sauce evenly. Simmer until the spinach has wilted, about 10 minutes.

  • Meanwhile, heat avocado (or canola) oil in a large skillet over medium heat until it reaches 350°F. Add the onion skin and cook until it is dark brown, about 3 minutes. Remove the onion skin with a slotted spoon and discard.

  • Place a wire rack atop a baking sheet (or a paper-towel-lined plate) near the stove. Working in batches, add plantains to the hot oil. Cook, flipping once, until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer to the rack (or plate) with a slotted spoon or tongs to drain. Repeat with the remaining plantains.

  • Serve the fried plantains with the spinach mixture.

Equipment

Deep-fry or candy thermometer

Tips

Extracted from the oil palm tree, unrefined red palm oil gets its deep hue from healthful antioxidant pigments called carotenoids, which are important for eye health. Its high smoke point makes it a good choice for frying.

Harvested from the pods of African locust bean trees then fermented, iru gives deep umami flavor to soups, stews and more.

Cameroon pepper is made by grinding fiery dried Scotch bonnet chiles.

Find plantains at large supermarkets or Latin markets. A ripe plantain has black-yellow skin. To peel, slice off both ends and cut into 3-inch lengths. Using the tip of a paring knife, cut 4 lengthwise slits along each piece. Soak in ice water for 3 to 5 minutes to loosen the skin. Remove from the water and peel.

Nutrition Facts

generous 1 cup spinach mixture & 2/3 cup plantains
492 calories; protein 24g; carbohydrates 55g; dietary fiber 11g; sugars 23g; fat 23g; saturated fat 8g; mono fat 4g; poly fat 6g; cholesterol 48mg; vitamin a iu 15886IU; vitamin b3 niacin 6mg; vitamin b12 2mcg; vitamin c 69mg; vitamin d iu 3IU; vitamin e iu 7IU; folate 327mg; vitamin k 732mg; sodium 578mg; calcium 182mg; iron 7mg; magnesium 190mg; phosphorus 365mg; potassium 1917mg; zinc 5mg; niacin equivalents 10mg; selenium 22mcg.
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