– Utazi,Okazi / Ukazi and Uziza leaves..are they all the same? If not what is the difference between these vegetables. I’m confused...from Iboman’s wife(via email)
– I am having difficulty knowing the different use for
Okazi/Ukazi, Uziza and Utazi..They sound so alike and not helping
matters.. can you help me with the different uses? :).. from Somto (via youtube)
Hi ladies, You are not alone in this one .These names are quite confusing.
Years back ,I also had to ask my mum and a friend before getting it all right…*Giggles*
My mum actually told me a kitchen tale about a newly wed(a.k.a Cathering practical) who wanted to impress her mother-in-law and decided to cook Ofe Nsala , but instead of Utazi leaves , she made use of Ukazi; unknowingly converting the soup to Afang soup…☺.. her mother-in-law, chewed and chewed on the hard leaves and when she couldn’t take it any more, made a big sigh and said” Chai, Nnem iga ji ini gia egbu Nmadu oo” (meaning…”My dear, you are going to kill someone with your food oo”). ☺.
Well, the situation could have been worse you know,Lol.. so here’s how to avoid a repeat of the incidence above; these are some of the differences between Okazi(Ukazi),Utazi, & Uziza leaves.
* Okazi/Ukazi/Afang Leaf(Gnetum Africanum) is used for cooking Afang soup and Okazi/Ukazi Soup. The leaves are tough(hard) and glossy and looks more like the leaves of an orange tree. It doesn’t really have a distinctive smell,but it has a slightly bitter taste. Some people add it to egusi soup and other vegetable soups. While Some old efik men chew it raw with palm oil due to its medicinal values.
|Okazi / Ukazi/ Afang leaves|
* Uziza leaves(false cubeb leaves) :these leaves are also glossy but has a ”spicy scent”. It is mostly used for cooking Pepper soup, Gi Nmiri Oku(yam pepper soup), egusi soup & Oha/Ora soup. The uziza seed(false cubeb pepper/black peppercorns) is ”hot” and ”sometimes” used to get the ”Uziza taste” in the absence of the leaves. This leaf has a wonderful aroma.
|Uziza leaves(pic by aidanbrooksspices.blogspot.com|
* Utazi /Otazi leaves (Gongronema latifolium):This leaf is heart shaped with a somewhat bitter taste(not as bitter as bitter leaf) and is usually eaten raw. It is mostly used as a garnish for food like African salad(Abacha&Ugba),Isiewu and Nkwobi,but also used for soups like Nsala, utazi soup and a special fish and unripe plantain recipe for diabetic patients.
Hope these has been able to help you differentiate between these Common Nigerian vegetables.
Feel free to comment below, If you know of any other differences not listed here ☺