Make Ahead

Moinmoin - Nigerian Stemed Bean Cake

June  8, 2011
Author Notes

Moinmoin, with porridge oats for breakfast. or Bird's custard. Or corn pap. Moinmoin with rice, for lunch. Best with Jollof rice. And for dinner, Moinmoin with garri, a coarse ground meal, eaten soaked in cold water with serious helpings of sugar.

Do you get that I like Moinmoin? On streets in Nigeria, you'll find mothers and grandmothers unearthing steaming banana leaves for clients. Some colour theirs with palm oil, a fiery orange tropical oil and others stick with vegetable oil.

Fish, everything from smoked mackarel to sardines and tuna. Boiled eggs, chopped vegetables. Nothing is held back. It all depends on who and where.

The variety with boiled egg quarters and flaked fish are my best. Authentically, they are wrapped in banana leaves, or corn husks but where that is impossible to do, greased ramekins also work a treat.

In place of the soaked fresh beans, bean flour or yellow lentils can be employed.

Tinned (cooked beans) will not work. The best way to rid the beans of their skin is to soak in water for an hour and then pound, using a pestle to ease the skins. No trivial matter I must say. —Kitchen Butterfly

  • Makes 10 - 12, depending on you
Ingredients
  • 2 cups washed and skinned black-eyed beans (or yellow lentils) or 2 cups bean flour (and more)
  • 1 medium (red) onion, peeled and chopped roughly
  • Chopped chilli pepper, optional
  • 1 cup stock (chicken, beef, vegetarian)
  • 1 – 2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup of vegetable oil
  • 3 boiled eggs, cut into quarters (hard boiled eggs work best)
  • 80g Tuna flakes
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. MAKE THE MIX: In a blender or food processor, grind the beans/lentils/flour with the onions, chilli pepper and stock till you get a smooth, thick paste. If using flour, add more till you get a thick almost cake batter like paste. If you rub a bit between your fingers, you shouldn’t see large recognizable chunks of beans. If necessary, scoop the sides of the blender in and pulse till smooth. Put mixture into a large bowl and taste for salt – you should taste the sea! Stir in the oil and tuna flakes (if using) and then prepare to contain somehow, whether in wraps or ramekins.
  2. If using ramekins, oil them lightly and fill them up to half. Top with egg quarter and cover with more mixture until about three quarters full. Put in a pot, pyramid style and carefully add water. Steam for half an hour or till the puddings are firm to the touch and leave no wet residue.
  3. If using corn husks or banana leaves, take one leaf and tear off strips along the ribs to make ties. Or employ some kitchen string. Place a few tablespoons of filling in the centre of the wrap, add a boiled egg quarter and fold the (width/shorter) sides in, so that one overlaps the other. You will end up with a long, flat ‘soon to be’ parcel. Fold the top and bottom ends in , overlapping again. . Then use the tie to bind around the middle of the parcel. Continue till all your filling is used up. Place in a steamer and cook or in a pot. Pour in a couple of cups of water – not to cover the wraps but up to a third of the way up. You could always start out with a little and add more water as necessary. They should be ready after half an hour of cooking on the stove top.
  4. The tastiest part of the moinmoin is usually the bits stuck between the leaves – not at the core of the wrap but coating the leaves. Yum – soft, spicy, rich, tasty bean cake. Pudding. That’s the grace of cooking it in leaves!

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Review
For the first 9 years of my life I hated food and really loved sugar till Wimpy (British Fast Food chain) changed my life! These days, all grown up, I've junked junk food and spend my days and nights on a quest - to find and share the sweet, sweet nectar that's food in The #NewNigerianKitchen! Dreaming, cooking, eating and writing...about and adoring a strong food community that's big and bold enough to embrace the world's diverse cuisines - I'm passionate about celebrating Nigerian cuisine in its entirety. Why do I love food so? It is forgiving. Make a recipe. Have it go bad....but wake up tomorrow and you can have another go at succeeding! Only with food!