Dodo Ati Efo (Fried Plantains & Stewed Spinach)

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.

dodo ati efo fried plantains stewed spinach
Photo: Photographer / Greg DuPree, Food Stylist / Margaret Dickey, Prop Stylist / Kay Clarke
Active Time:
50 mins
Total Time:
50 mins


  • 1 large red onion, unpeeled

  • ¼ cup organic unrefined red palm oil (see Tip)

  • 3 tablespoons iru (fermented locust beans; see Tip)

  • 1 (15 ounce) can no-salt-added tomato sauce

  • ½ cup water

  • 2 beef bouillon cubes

  • teaspoon salt

  • teaspoon Cameroon pepper (see Tip)

  • 1 pound beef stew meat, trimmed and cubed (1/2-inch)

  • 2 pounds baby spinach

  • 2 cups avocado oil or canola oil

  • 4 large ripe plantains, peeled and sliced diagonally 1 inch thick (see Tip)


  1. Peel onion, reserving the skin. Dice the onion.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. Serve the fried plantains with the spinach mixture.


Deep-fry or candy thermometer


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 (per serving)

492 Calories
23g Fat
55g Carbs
24g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 6
Serving Size generous 1 cup spinach mixture & 2/3 cup plantains
Calories 492
% Daily Value *
Total Carbohydrate 55g 20%
Dietary Fiber 11g 39%
Total Sugars 23g
Protein 24g 48%
Total Fat 23g 29%
Saturated Fat 8g 40%
Cholesterol 48mg 16%
Vitamin A 15886IU 318%
Vitamin C 69mg 77%
Vitamin D 3IU 1%
Vitamin E 5mg 31%
Folate 327mcg 82%
Vitamin K 732mcg 610%
Sodium 578mg 25%
Calcium 182mg 14%
Iron 7mg 39%
Magnesium 190mg 45%
Potassium 1917mg 41%
Zinc 5mg 45%
Vitamin B12 2mcg 83%

Nutrition information is calculated by a registered dietitian using an ingredient database but should be considered an estimate.

* Daily Values (DVs) are the recommended amounts of nutrients to consume each day. Percent Daily Value (%DV) found on nutrition labels tells you how much a serving of a particular food or recipe contributes to each of those total recommended amounts. Per the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the daily value is based on a standard 2,000 calorie diet. Depending on your calorie needs or if you have a health condition, you may need more or less of particular nutrients. (For example, it’s recommended that people following a heart-healthy diet eat less sodium on a daily basis compared to those following a standard diet.)

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a special diet for medical reasons, be sure to consult with your primary care provider or a registered dietitian to better understand your personal nutrition needs.

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