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How To Cook Efo Iyana Ipaja – Delicious Hospital Too Far Leaves Soup

Hospital-too-far-leaves- or-efo-iyana-paja-leaves-image

The picture of the vegetable leaves you see above are called Efo Iyana Ipaja. Contrary to it’s name, Iyana Ipaja leaves or Efo Iyana Ipaja can be found in many areas of Nigeria not only in Iyana Ipaja in Lagos alone. It also has other names, Igbos call it Ugu Oyinbo, In Pidgin English it is called Hospital Too far Leaves because the amazing health benefits it has help you live healthy to avoid hospital visits.

Also, Iyana Ipaja Leaves in English is called  Tree spinach.

In today’s post, I will be explaining in details of how to cook iyana ipaja vegetable soup.As I explained earlier, even though yorubas call it Efo Iyana Ipaja the tree is mostly found in the rural areas of Nigeria or in the compound of people who intentionally plant it for their use.

Ugu Oyinbo is a great substitute for ugu leaves – fluted pumpkin leaves- in Nigerian cooking but one of the major issue in using the highly medicinal leaves is the fact that it is not readily available in the market like Ugu leaves.

As you read on, I will tell you the other major reason why it is one of the Rare Nigerian soup ingredients that is fast fading from the cooking scene even though those who have access to it commonly use it to cook Efo riro or Ẹfọ elegusi.

The other reason why many people are not using these vegetable to cook even though they have access to it is because Efo Iyana Ipaja can cause allergic reactions such as itchy skin if it is not handled correctly.

Hospital Too far Leaves have pointy edges that can cause you to have allergic reactions when it touches you skin. As a result, many people are confused because they do not know how to pluck the leaves from the tree without touching the leaves so as to avoid having skin irritations

To pluck the leaves from the tree you should cover your hands with thick gloves or when nylons on your hands. If you are using nylons you must make sure you tie the nylons securely so that they do not remove.

The step in quote is how you can successfully cut the leaves from the tree but it does not end with just cutting the leaves. Remember you have to cook it so I will also be explaining how to prepare Iyana Ipaja vegetable and ofcourse how to make  delicious soup with it . Before we go into all the details here are the ingredients I used to cook this soup;


Efo Iyana paja.

⅓ cup Palm Oil

1 table spoon Iru (locust beans)

5 Tomatoes (optional)

5 Ata rodo (Scotch bonnet pepper)

3 Tatashe (Bell pepper)

4 Shombo

2 medium size Onions

1½ Seasoning cube

2 table spoons Crayfish powder

8 tablespoon Salt

Hake fish


1½ cup Vegetable oil

1 teaspoon Curry



COOKING TIME : 30 minutes


  • Pour 7 tablespoons of salt in water
  • Put hospital too far Leaves in salty water
  • Let the leaves sit for 10-15 minutes

this is necessary to subdue the toxins in the leaves so that you won’t have itchy skin while slicing it

  • Clean your chicken
  • Put chicken in a clean pot add curry, thyme, 1 seasoning cube, salt, 1 chopped medium size onions and cook for 10 minutes.
  • You can also fry the chicken after cooking it, but for this recipe I did not fry the chicken
  • Also clean your fishes while the leaves are in the salty water.
  • After cleaning the fishes, put them in a basket to drain the water
  • Add ½ teaspoon salt and mix the fishes to ensure the salt mixes well with the fishes then set aside.
  • Remove the Efo Iyana Ipaja from the salty water
  • Rinse the leaves again in clean unsalted water
  • Place the leaves in a basket to drain out the excess water
  • After draining the excess water, slice the leaves and set aside.
  • Pour 1½ cups of vegetable oil in a frying pan
  • Allow the oil heat up then add the salted fishes
  • Fry both sides of the fishe until golden brown
  • Then take out the fishes and set aside
  • Clean the tomatoes, onions, scotch bonnet pepper, Shombo, Tatashe and blend to a rough consistency
  • After the chicken has cooked for 10 minutes, separate the chicken and chicken stock


  •  Pour palm oil in a pot and allow it to heat up briefly
  • Add locust beans and fry for few seconds
  • Add blended pepper mix, crayfish powder, chicken stock and seasoning powder.
  • Also add fried fish  and boiled chicken.
  • Stir gently and cook for 10 to 15 minutes or until sauce thickens and liquid reduces.
  • After 15 minutes you can you know see that the liquid has reduced
  • Stir sauce again to make sure the sauce is not stuck to the bottom of the pot
  • Add sliced Efo Iyana ipaja
  • Gently stir and cook for 5 to 10 minutes.
Efo riro cooked with hospital too far leave is ready.

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