Utazi Soup – Igbo Soup | Ofe Utazi Leaf | Utazi Leaf Benefits

Utazi Soup (Ofe Utazi recipe) is a type of Nigerian soup – a traditional Igbo delicacy prepared with Utazi leaf.  The utazi leaf is common with pepper soup due to its slightly bitter taste.

Utazi Soup Igbo Soup
Utazi Soup Igbo Soup

Utazi leaf is bitter-sweet in taste especially when eaten fresh. It is normally used as a local spice and also as a vegetable for food preparations such as;

Nkwobi, unripe plantain pottage, Abacha food, local soups such as nsala (white soup), salads, sauces, and isiewu.

Moreover, some African countries like Nigeria, Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, use the stems and fruits as chewing sticks

Utazi Soup – Gongronema latifolium (Utazi) leaves

Gongronema latifolium is the botanical name for a local leaf/herb called utazi by the Eastern part (Igbo/Ibo) of Nigeria.

The Western part of Nigeria calls this leaf arokeke and The Efik and Ibibio tribes name these leaves Utasi.

Utazi is a tropical rainforest plant mainly used as a vegetable, medicine, or spice by the people.

In some cases, the dried or fresh leaves are prepared as Utazi Soup – Ofe Utazi | Utazi Leaf Soup or as

Tincture (i.e. extraction in alcoholic beverages

When making utazi soup, you need to wash off some of the bitterness from the leaves before use, or else the soup will taste so bitter. The same technique is applied to bitter leaf soup.

Utazi Soup – Health Benefits of Utazi Leaf

Utazi plant is highly medicinal, which suggests why its health benefits cannot be understated.

It is used to relieve pains, treat Ulcers, worms, diarrhea, constipation, and it helps improve digestion, lower blood sugar as well.

The Utazi leaf and fertility: what is the effect? Utazi leaves are one of the most common leaves which can assist you not only to preserve a healthy body but to enhance your fertility.

Utazi Soup – Nutritional Benefits of Gongronema latifolium (Utazi)

Nutritionally, G. latifolium (utazi) is an exceptional source of protein and past studies indicate that G. latifolium (utazi) leaves are appropriate for use in food production because of their high amino acid contents.

How to Process the Utazi Leaves for Soup: This Can Be Processed In Two Ways
  1. Firstly, wash the leaves, place them in a bowl, and add very little water. Scrub between your hands till it breaks up and starts bringing out its juices.
  2. Alternatively, is to place the leaves in a blender with a little water and pulse about 3-4 times. Empty into a bowl and squeeze and rub.
  3. After that, the water will turn deep green, rinse, and strain through a very fine sieve.
  4. Subsequently, squeeze and rub again, rinse and strain. Do this several times till the water is no longer deep green. It all depends on how much of the bitterness you preferred.
  5. Lastly, squeeze out the water and set it aside. If you want the utazi to be stringy and very visible in the soup, please do not use the blender.
Utazi Soup – Ofe Utazi | Utazi Leaf Soup Recipe

Palm-nut juice or extract (Banga) is normally used for utazi soup but if you can’t get either the fresh or tinned one, you can use palm-oil.

Palm-nut juice can also be used for cooking onuigbu soup, oha soup, Banga soup, akwu stew, egusi soup, ofe akwu, etc.

How to prepare Utazi Soup (Ofe utazi)

Ingredients

  • 2 cups processed palm nut juice extract
  • Utazi leaves (enough to squeeze into 1/2 cup)
  • 1 slice of yam
  • Beef
  • Stockfish
  • 3 cups water + stock
  • 2 tablespoons ground crayfish
  • 3g-5g ogili
  • 2 seasoning cubes
  • Dry fish
  • 2 scotch bonnet (fresh pepper)
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Method

  1. Firstly, wash, boil, pound, and extract the juice from the palm nut. The complete guide HERE. Boil the palm nut juice until it thickens to the desired. Take off the heat and set aside
  2. Secondly, peel and cut the slice of yam into cubes. Then, wash and place in a small pot with water and boil until tender.
  3. Thirdly, strain off the water and pound with a mortar and pestle, potato masher, or food processor until it comes together into a smooth, lump-free gluey mash.
  4. Fourthly, wash your meat and stockfish, place in a pot, season with salt and seasoning cube, and boil until tender.
  5. After that, soak the dry fish in boiling water for 2 minutes, drain and rinse properly with cold water, then, add to the pot of boiling meat and boil for 5 minutes.
  6. Now, pour in 2 cups of palm nut extract and bring to a boil. Add enough water to make up a total of 3 cups including the meat stock already in the pot.
  7. Add ground crayfish, crushed okpei, ground pepper, and seasoning cubes, stir and taste, add salt. Boil for about 5 minutes, stirring intermittently.
  8. Then, add pounded yam in tablespoon-sized lumps and keep boiling and once the soup thickens, remove any undissolved lumps of yam.
  9. Lastly, taste and correct seasoning, then add the processed utazi, stir and cook for 5 minutes and your soup is done.

Serve with any swallow of your choice, such as garri, pounded yam, oatmeal, semolina (semolina), etc.

 

 

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