What Are The Benefits Found In The Newly Discovered Worowo Vegetable?

What Are The Benefits Found In The Newly Discovered Worowo Vegetable?

In Congo, worowo is used to treat cough and heart troubles; as a tonic, and to relieve rheumatic pain, prurient allergies, and localized oedemas.

Ever heard of a leaf vegetable that is so high in protein that you don’t need to eat meat when you eat it? Then you’ve likely heard of the worowo vegetable. Scientists call it  Solanecio biafrae, but in some parts of Nigeria and Sierra Leone you might have heard the name bologi. All these names refer to worowo. This green leaf vegetable grows naturally in the forests, from Guinea to Uganda. Only very few African farmers cultivate it commercially.

worowo vegetable

Credit: Kitchen Butterfly

This article shares some of the many benefits of worowo vegetable; also we’ve added a sumptuous recipe that you can whip up whenever you want.

What Are The Nutritious Benefits Of Worowo Vegetable?

worowo vegetable

Credit: Kitchen Butterfly

The fresh, succulent leaves of bologi are leafy vegetables used in soups in Sierra Leone, Ghana, Benin, Nigeria, Cameroon and Gabon. They are especially popular in South-Western Nigeria. The people usually cook the leaves with pepper, tomatoes, and onions. In these soups, there’s no need for meat or fish because of the excellent properties of the vegetable. Hence the Yoruba proverb: ‘vegetable soup prepared with worowo leaves don’t need meat’.  But you can add fish or meat to your soup if you like. Check out a list of some of the benefits of this super vegetable below:

  • In Sierra Leone, where it is called ‘bologi’, the people eat the leaves as a steamed vegetable with okro and fish. In another preparation, they steam the leaves in boiling water, then then squeeze them to remove the mucilage or gum. Next, they rinse the leaves twice or thrice for a thorough removal, then infuse the leaves and drink as a tea.
  • Among the Yorubas, apart from cooking the worowo vegetable in soups, they use the leaf extracts to stop bleeding from cuts and injuries. And Cameroonians use the leaves to treat sore eyes.
  • In Côte d’Ivoire, the people pulp the leaves, then apply them to the breasts as a galactagogue for nursing mothers.
  • In Congo, worowo is medicine for cough and heart trouble. It’s also a tonic that relieves rheumatic pain, prurient allergies and localized oedemas.
  • It also has cultural uses in initiation and funeral rituals in the Congo; while in Yoruba culture it is used in rituals to ward off smallpox.

And now, to make sumptuous efo riro with worowo vegetable. Yum!

How To Prepare Efo Riro With Worowo Vegetable

vegetable soup

If you’re not a stranger to Nigeria, you’re likely not a stranger to efo riro, the Yoruba delicacy that everyone has embraced. Efo riro has gained the respect of many Nigerian kitchens. In this special efo riro with a twist, we’ll be adding the worowo vegetable, for originality and extra nutrition.

  • 8 pieces of fresh Scotch Bonnet pepper (Nigerian ata rodo)
  • 3 Tomatoes
  • Half of an onion
  • 2-3 tablespoons of African Locust beans (iru)
  • 1 large smoked Mackerel fish (Titus)
  • Cowskin (ponmo) – as much as you want inside but don’t overcrowd the pot
  • 2 or 3 seasoning cubes
  • 3 bunches or 500 grammes of Worowo Leaves
  • 1 and 1/2 cups of Palm oil
  • Salt to taste.

efo riro

  • Chop the tomatoes, pepper, and onions. Do not blend to smoothness; you want that coarseness you get when you use a manual grater.
  • Shred the vegetables, wash and pour inside a sieve to drain the water.
  • Make sure your cowskin (ponmo) is clean and soft. Remove the skin of the smoked fish and cut to desired sizes. Make sure everything is ready before you start cooking.
  • Pour the oil inside the pot; let it heat up to almost smoking point. Add the chopped tomatoes, pepper and onions, and stir.
  • Add the locust beans (iru) and stir. Let it cook for five minutes but don’t forget to stir continuously. What you want to achieve here is to not only reduce the water content in the sauce, but to also kill the sour taste of the tomatoes.
  • After five minutes, add the seasoning cubes, ponmo and salt, and stir. Let it heat up for another 3 minutes or until there is little or no water at all inside the sauce, though not to dryness.
  • After this is done, stir the vegetables in, bit by bit. After adding the leaves, add the smoked fish and carefully stir the efo riro so the fish doesn’t crumble. Allow to cook for at least 5 minutes, and your efo riro is ready.
Efo riro goes well with pounded yam. But Semovita, amala or eba are great options as well.

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