Moi Moi, also known as Moin Moin, is a traditional Nigerian delicacy that has managed to gain recognition on the global culinary stage due to its unique taste, nutritional benefits, and versatile serving options. It is a steamed bean pudding made primarily from peeled black-eyed peas, onions, and a blend of spices. It can be served as a main dish, a side dish, or even as a snack. One of the fascinating aspects of Moi Moi is its inherent flexibility. It can be modified to include other ingredients such as fish, corned beef, boiled eggs, or vegetables, making it a dish that can be tailored to meet various dietary preferences and requirements.
This comprehensive guide will walk you through every step needed to prepare Moi Moi, ensuring you’ll be able to serve a delicious, healthy, and authentically Nigerian dish. Let’s start our culinary journey into the heart of Nigerian cuisine!
Here’s what you’ll need:
- 2 cups of black-eyed peas or brown beans (oloyin)
- 1 large red bell pepper
- 2 scotch bonnet peppers (adjust to your heat preference)
- 1 large onion
- 2 cups of vegetable or chicken broth
- 1 cup of vegetable oil or palm oil
- 2 raw eggs (optional)
- 2 tablespoons of crayfish (optional)
- Salt to taste
- 2 seasoning cubes (Maggi/Knorr cubes)
- 1 teaspoon of curry powder
- 1 teaspoon of thyme
- Cooked and flaked mackerel fish, or canned corned beef (optional)
- Hard boiled eggs (optional)
- Banana leaves, aluminum foil or leaves (uma leaves) for wrapping
Step 1: Soaking and Peeling the Beans
Begin by soaking the black-eyed peas in a large bowl of water for about an hour. This process softens the beans and loosens the skin, making it easier to peel off. Once soaked, rub the beans between your palms to peel off the skin. Afterward, place the beans in more water and the skin will float, making it easy to pour out. Repeat this process until you are left with peeled beans. This step might be a bit tedious, but it is crucial to achieve the smooth texture required for Moi Moi.
Step 2: Blending the Beans and Other Ingredients
Rinse the peeled beans thoroughly and place them in a blender. Add the bell pepper, scotch bonnet peppers, and onions. Pour in enough water to help the blades of the blender move and blend until you achieve a smooth paste. Avoid adding too much water at this stage, as the mixture should not be overly diluted.
Step 3: Preparing the Moi Moi Mix
Pour the bean paste into a large bowl. Add the vegetable or chicken broth, oil, eggs, crayfish (if using), salt, seasoning cubes, curry powder, and thyme. Mix all these ingredients thoroughly until the paste is well combined. The paste’s consistency should be thick enough to coat a spoon but still pourable.
Step 4: Adding the Optional Fillings
This is the step where you can introduce variety into your mix. If you are using mackerel fish, ensure that it’s well-cooked, deboned, and flaked. You can also use canned corned beef. If you opt for boiled eggs, slice them into halves or quarters. You can add these fillings directly to the mix or individually to each Moi Moi wrap, which brings us to the next step.
Step 5: Wrapping and Steaming the Moi Moi
Traditionally, Moi Moi is wrapped in uma leaves (Thaumatococcus daniellii), but if you cannot find these, you can use banana leaves or even aluminum foil. Cut the leaves or foil into squares of about 20 cm on each side. Scoop the Moi Moi mix into the center of each square and add your chosen fillings. Carefully fold the edges over the mix to form a parcel. Repeat until all the mixture has been used.
Arrange the wrapped Moi Moi in a large pot. Add about two cups of water to the pot, making sure the water level is below the height of the Moi Moi parcels to prevent water from seeping into them. Cover the pot and steam on medium heat for about 45 minutes to an hour. You can check its doneness by inserting a toothpick into one of the Moi Moi. If it comes out clean, your Moi Moi is ready.
And there you have it! Your sumptuous Moi Moi is ready to be served. It can be enjoyed on its own or paired with other dishes like Jollof Rice, Fried Rice, or even with a simple slice of bread. As with any dish, the magic of Moi Moi lies in the details – from the texture of the beans to the mix of ingredients, every step is an integral part of creating this delightful Nigerian dish. So put on your apron and get cooking, and soon you’ll be able to enjoy a piece of Nigerian culinary heritage right in your own kitchen!