Nigeria curry leaf is a herb use (basil) to add flavour and aroma to Nigerian varieties of dishes. So, in Nigeria there is this popular culinary herbs used in seasoning food. And, the herbs goes by the name curry leafs.
Also, this Nigerian curry leaf is a perfect herb for seasoning stews, jollof rice, pepper soup. Also, porridge, noodles, stir fries so many other kinds of dishes. Curry leaf is a tender popular herb with a very sweet and pungent aroma.
Furthermore, as the herb goes by the name curry leaf in Nigeria, one may think it taste like a curry powder. But it does not taste like curry powder at all. In other words, there is no taste, aroma or Colour similarities between it and curry powder.
However, Nigeria curry leaf is the same as Basil, Lemon basil to be precise. Even more, this herbs which is highly unstable in a high heat, makes a remarkable differences in a food. To get the benefits, applied it in food the right way.
In other words, because for some unknown reasons, this herb is referred to as curry leaf in Nigeria, a lot of people believe that it is the same as a curry powder
However, curry powder is a blend of several spices with turmeric, coriander, cumin, fennel, fenugreek and ginger as the major ingredients. I wrote extensively about ginger and its health benefits Here. feel free to go through the link to gain some facts you never knew about ginger.
Most curry powder are very yellow as a result of the health of turmeric present in in the blend. turmeric is one of the wonder spice we have in the world with many nutritional and health benefits.
Nigeria Curry Leaf
Nigeria curry leaf, which is in fact popularly known and called by the name Basil is a culinary herbs with many cultivars. It has green leaf, sometimes with white flowers. And it is rich in a sweet pungent aroma because of the present of an aromatic compound in it called Linalool/methylchavicol/1,8-cineole
Sometimes ago, I visited the herbs and spices section of a certain supermarket in the UK (United Kingdom). And I came across popular familiar aroma of Nigerian “curry leafs”. So, when I got close to the herbs, it has the label British basil. Out of curiosity, I started researching for what curry leaf is and then met another rude shock. There is a curry leaf that is not Nigerian curry leaf.
The Real Curry leafs
This is another herb globally known as curry leaf, which is also used for culinary purposes. Curry herbs comes from curry tree popularly known as sweet neem tree from the family of Rutaceae. In fact the curry leaf pictured above is native to India and widely used in many dishes especially the curries.
So, it is only Nigerians that call this herb curry which is not right. Fot, the real name is basil. When you mention curry in the global sense of it, Asian curry dishes is what comes to peoples mind.
Aside the Asian curry dishes, there is a real curry leaf from a curry tree different from Nigeria curry leaf.
How To Use Curry Leaf In Cooking
Curry leaf or sweet basil herbs are not very heat stable. Because of the sensitivity of its aromatic compound. So adding curry vegetables just at the end of cooking or after cooking is the best. This helps to retain the taste and flavours. In addition, when you cook curry leaf for a long time, the signature flavour flashes off and you loose the integrity of the herbs.
African Basil (Scent leafs)
African basil also known as Scent leaf, is an African basil from the same family as curry and basil. Also, this herb is very popular in Nigeria just like curry leaf. However, it has a huge taste difference from Lemon basil. African basil add great taste and aroma to some Nigerian delicacies. Especially, delicacies like pepper soup, ofe akwu and so on.
Similarly, as it is great in taste, it also has some health benefits such as: repelling mosquitoes. It also has some anti-bacteria and fungi properties. which helps to keep the gut healthy.
What do you people call basil where you come from?