Nigeria Curry Leaf (basil)

Nigeria Curry leaf
Nigeria curry leaf

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

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

Nigerian 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

curry leaf
real curry leaf

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.

scent leaf
African basil

What do you people call basil where you come from?

7 comments on “Nigeria Curry Leaf (basil)

  1. Thanks so much but I have a question. Is the curry leaf (lemon basil) and African basil (scent stew) the same thing? Can they also be used in a dish that strictly needs basils. Thanks so much.

  2. Thanks so much but I have a question. Is Curry leaf (lemon basil) and African basil (scent leaf) the same ? Can african basil (scent leaf) be used in a recipe that strictly stresses the need for basil? Thanks so much

    1. Hi Adepoju, thanks for checking up this post.

      No Scent leave and lemon basil are very different even though they are from one family.

      Scent leave in my opinion cannot replace basil in a recipe because of the loud taste difference. Scent leave is way more pungent and earthy than basil leave.

      hope my explanation makes sense? and please if you have any more question, feel free to drop it here

  3. Hi, so I was doing my own research about the uses of both lemon basil and African basils as regards a hair mask treatment I wanted to try out. Can the African basil be used for hair treatment too? Thanks

    1. Hello Hemen Awar,
      Thank you for checking out this post. I know African basil helps with gum and teeth hygiene
      but I am really sorry I have no idea on the impact of it on a hair.
      Maybe you should try aloe vera if you have not. It works well for hair treatment

  4. Thanks a lot for this piece. Could you advise what are the closest alternatives to Scent leaves and Nigerian curry leaves here in the UK.

    1. Hi Izu,

      The British basil is same as Nigeria curry leave in my opinion. So that is a great alternative.
      For Africa Basil, Parsley leave is close enough in terms of pungency and aroma. You can Find them in supermarkets like Ldl and Morrison.

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