Difference Between Okazi(Ukazi),Utazi, and Uziza leaves

Difference Between Okazi(Ukazi),Utazi, and Uziza leaves

– 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.

See also  Nigerian Pepper Sauce Recipe (Pepper Dip)

* 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.

Ukazi leaves Afang Leaves Gnetum Africanum Okazi leaves, Difference Between Okazi(Ukazi),Utazi, and Uziza leaves
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 false cubeb leaves
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.

See also  Abak Mbakara (seafood palmnut soup)
Utazi leaves Otazi leaves (Gongronema latifolium), Difference Between Okazi(Ukazi),Utazi, and Uziza leaves
Utazi leaves

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 ☺

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  1. Esther
    January 16, 2024 / 10:08 am

    God bless you for this

  2. Rochelle L Lee
    September 18, 2019 / 4:34 pm

    Hello my family are foodies and I haven’t had any home cooked African meals it’s apart of my heritage and I would love to introduce my son to foods of the world especially Africa. Please let me know what to start with thankfully I don’t have a picky eater for a child sometimes he is better than me when it comes to trying new things. Thank you in advance peace and blessings

    • September 18, 2019 / 7:39 pm

      Hello Rochelle Lee, I’m delighted to have you here.
      You can start out with the snacks. I highly recommend any and all of these ones below:
      Tney are easy to prepare and I have a detailed video on each one to put you through,
      so you can’t go wrong hun´.
      Go through each recipe and start with any one you think is easier for you to follow through
      and feel free to leave me a comment if you have anymore questions.
      + Puff puff – recipe here- http://www.nigerianfoodtv.com/2012/10/puff-puff-how-to-make-nigerian-puff.html
      + Fish rolls- recipe here- http://www.nigerianfoodtv.com/2012/12/nigerian-fish-rolls.html
      + Meatpie – recipe here-http://www.nigerianfoodtv.com/2012/11/how-to-make-nigerian-meat-pie.html
      + Chin chin – recipe here-http://www.nigerianfoodtv.com/2013/01/how-to-make-nigerian-chin-chin.html
      I will be expecting your feedback as you try each one. And I am sure your son will enjoy every one of them.
      So dear prepare for a lot of ” I want more mommy”-

  3. agatha amachree
    January 30, 2018 / 9:48 am

    I have used too much utazi, and I am looking around for a solution to counter the bitter taste

  4. Laura Anthony
    December 9, 2017 / 5:13 pm

    Can i add uziza leave to my blended ponky leave black soup? & does uziza leave have a slimmy texture when blened? Cos I can't remember… I will appreciate your reply thank you

  5. Laura Anthony
    December 9, 2017 / 4:10 pm

    Can i add uziza leave to my blended ponky leave black soup? & does uziza leave have a slimmy texture when blened? Cos I can't remember… I will appreciate your reply thank you

  6. Anonymous
    December 9, 2017 / 4:06 pm

    Hi amazing information good job well done. But please Can i add frozen uziza leave to my blended ponky leave soup? & does uziza leave have a slimmy texture when blended?

  7. Loe'
    May 18, 2017 / 8:45 am

    American girl making Nsala soup. Lol….Can I use Uziza leaves instead of Utazi leaves? My husband is Yoruba and he loves this soup and no restaurant here makes it. I want to surprise him and make this soup for him.

  8. Blogger
    April 13, 2017 / 1:58 pm

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  9. Anonymous
    February 16, 2017 / 6:13 pm

    9ice work n dis really helped mi wit my assignment

  10. Anonymous
    February 16, 2017 / 6:09 pm

    great work u tried

  11. Chioma
    January 13, 2017 / 4:47 am

    Thanks, it's really helpful. But I'm still puzzled; does utazi have any smell, so as to distinguish it from uziza? What of nchaanwu or scent leaves, is nchaanwu the same as scent leaves? I'm quite familiar with curry leaves. But if you could throw some light on all of these it will be very helpful.

  12. Anonymous
    May 12, 2016 / 1:53 am

    If the okazi leaves have been soaked in water for a week,are they safe to eat?

  13. Anonymous
    May 12, 2016 / 1:53 am

    If the okazi leaves have been soaked in water for a week,are they safe to eat?

  14. Anonymous
    February 14, 2016 / 4:56 pm

    thanks for this wonderful information, i will not make mistake for these leaves any more. keep it up

    • Unknown
      May 14, 2016 / 3:14 am

      I need some not the dry one but the fresh one plz and are you guys here in Australia or out of Australia?

    • Emmanuel Dennis
      May 14, 2016 / 3:29 am

      I need some not the dry one but the fresh one plz and are you guys here in Australia or out of Australia?

  15. Esther Cape Town
    July 18, 2015 / 9:26 am

    Thank you so much it will really help me with my dishes

    • Nky Lily Lete
      August 16, 2015 / 9:08 pm

      you're welcome hun .

  16. YLH LILY
    July 3, 2015 / 7:12 pm

    What is the Yoruba name for Uziza?

    • Nze Nze
      August 12, 2015 / 8:03 pm


  17. Anonymous
    November 3, 2014 / 4:49 pm

    Pls what is d english name of utazi, uziza and okazi? Thanks

  18. betty
    October 3, 2014 / 5:19 pm

    Can I use utazi to cook egusi?

    • Nky Lily Lete
      October 4, 2014 / 12:50 pm

      yes you can, but be aware that it has a slightly bitter taste.

    • Chioma Okoye
      November 13, 2015 / 11:00 pm

      My dear, sister, use it VERY sparingly in the egusi soup o! I made the mistake of mixing the "UTAzi" with the "UKAzi" and what I had was a very strange looking and almost bitter-leaf tasting egusi soup! Mehnnnnn!!! But it was a lot of effort so had to swallow my annoyance and eat the thing. Thankfully, no one else has to eat it with me. Lol! Nky, thanks for explaining the difference between the leaves. this article really helped. Love and Peace to you, Sis.

  19. betty
    October 3, 2014 / 5:18 pm


  20. OOOOps!
    July 10, 2014 / 7:42 pm

    I have bought dried utazi leaves in London. Do you have any idea how can I use them?

    • Nky Lily Lete
      July 16, 2014 / 1:57 pm

      Sure dearie, use it as a garnish for Nkwobi , isiewu and catfish peppersoup

    • Nky Lily Lete
      November 4, 2014 / 10:38 am

      You can also use it for utazi soup.

  21. Anonymous
    July 9, 2014 / 7:39 pm

    Kudos to u, U are doin a grt wrk ma. Can i add utazi leaf to banga soup?

    • Nky Lily Lete
      July 10, 2014 / 3:49 pm

      Thanks dearie. You can add utazi leaves to banga, but it will give it a slight bitter taste.

    • Anonymous
      November 29, 2017 / 10:15 pm

      can i add utazi to egusi soup

  22. Anonymous
    July 1, 2014 / 4:14 pm

    hello all,please does anyone know woorowo vegetable leaf(yoruba name) the igbo or english name.thanks.

    • Anonymous
      July 3, 2015 / 5:47 pm

      Woorowo vegetable means celery.

    • Anonymous
      July 7, 2017 / 2:27 pm

      No dear anonymous.

  23. Tennessee Boom
    April 5, 2014 / 7:18 am

    This is good….I'm learning to prepare a Nigerian dish for my husband as a surprise

    • Nky Lily Lete
      April 6, 2014 / 12:28 am

      Wow, that's nice dear, do let me know if you have any questions,I'm here to help.

  24. Tennessee Boom
    April 5, 2014 / 7:17 am

    This is good I'm learning to prepare Nigerian dishes for my husband as a surprise

  25. Anonymous
    January 1, 2014 / 9:38 pm

    Wao! Quite informative, I usually mistake uziza for cent leaves. Tnx l

    • Nky Lily Lete
      January 5, 2014 / 2:59 am

      You're welcome dear 🙂

  26. Anonymous
    October 7, 2013 / 8:49 pm

    u are correct dear. very informative for pple who are confused about the leaves

    • Nky Lily Lete
      October 7, 2013 / 9:34 pm

      Thanks dear 🙂

    • Anonymous
      December 28, 2013 / 8:04 am

      Nice one! It'll really help!

    • Nky Lily Lete
      July 6, 2015 / 10:32 am


  27. Anonymous
    October 4, 2013 / 6:15 pm

    You can also use uziza as a vegetable in okra soup, in place of ugwu, it gives it a very delicious and spicy taste.

    • Nky Lily Lete
      October 4, 2013 / 9:16 pm

      Thank you dear. I will try adding uziza to my next okra soup 🙂

    • Anonymous
      June 25, 2017 / 3:50 am

      Please how do I store fresh uziza leaves in the uk? If in the freezer, do I chop it up first before storing?

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