|Funke Koleosho's Moin Moin Elewe|
However, when I was recently approached by an African Cash and Carry centre to develop a commercially viable recipe for production of moin moin, I quickly realised that you must "never say never!!!
Many years back, I remember that moin moin was my only craving when I was pregnant with my daughter, and thanks to my friend Bimbola Enabulele I had a steady supply of the stuff...she made them for me on dial....hehehe (thanks again Bimbo). By the way, it was from Bimbola (many many years ago) that I learnt how to peel beans using a blender! She showed me how, when I wondered how quickly she was able to make them.
I love moin moin, it is one of my favourite dishes to eat. Though healthy, versatile and moreish to serve as a light meal, the process of making it from scratch is quite daunting....People, including myself, use different tactics possible to ensure that they are able to serve this dish as often as they wish. Some find clever ways of peeling the beans (the most tedious of the tasks involved in the moin moin making process). Others dedicate a day to making a batch which will be frozen and consumed over a period of time. Others purchase already peeled beans, some don't bother to cook the moin moin in leaves to save the hassle of folding and wrapping.....some just out right purchase moin moin as a ready meal because they just cannot be bothered....
The latter group has generated a real commercial opportunity for some merchants hence the need to produce moin moin as a ready meal boasting of the traditional taste, flavours and presentation, served in leaves.
|Moin Moin Elewe|
Moin Moin Elewe
As someone who loves moin moin, I can assure you, I have eaten different versions of the stuff, boiled, baked, steamed, made in foil containers, in polythene bags, in ramekins etc etc etc. But I have to confess that there is something about moin moin made with leaves (read more about this traditional food wraps here Ewe Eeran) which places it miles ahead of all others in the taste department. Moin moin in the leaves is a lot more appealing to many and would be their first option if they had the choice. The leaves appear to impart some flavour to the dish which you cannot compare with other methods/utensils used to cook it. And of course the leaves help mould the moin moin into its traditional triangular shape..... I tell you, its worth using the leaves to get the best result.
Back to the challenge of developing a commercially viable moin moin ready meal recipe. I was given some "first grade" bean flour (specially made from Nigeria), broad leaves ewe eeran, and given 1 week to come up with a winning recipe/ready meal.
I have used bean flour in the past and I have to say that I did not like the outcome so from the onset of this experiment, I had my reservations. All the same, I went to work in determining what quantities to use and how best to produce a dish which will have the desirable taste, flavour and texture. After the fourth trial, varying the quantities of bean flour and water and oil, I produced a good enough dish. The other ingredients that I used in this experiment are same as those I usually use including the addition of fresh milk which actually comes a shock/surprise to so many people.....
|Moin Moin Elewe|
The outcome of this challenge is quite promising and is well positioned to make money for some people. The meal is served hot daily and its incredible the amount of interest it is generating. So I would like to preach....."never say never" when it comes to food, because I am convinced that with experience, a determination, and the right combination of ingredients, you can create a master piece.
Check out the recipe below and if you have never used bean flour before to make your moin moin, I encourage you to give it a try.
What you need
- 500g of proper Nigerian brown bean flour (This can be purchased from Nigerian cash and carry shops. The black eye beans flour is a suitable alternative. Choose a well branded one as some varieties have been found to contain dust/sand particles. If you get one with this problem, allow the beans to settle for a while and skim off the top layer to leave the dust/sand behind)
- 200g of Spanish onions (any other onion variety can be used but I find Spanish onions really fragrant and flavourful,) Remove skin, wash and cut into small pieces
- 1 large ramiro pepper (regular sweet red pepper is a suitable alternative). Remove stalk, wash and cut into small pieces
- 1 scotch bonnet chilli (optional)
- 200ml of fish or vegetable stock (You can use your preferred seasoning or stock cubes as an alternative)
- 800ml of hot (not boiling) water
- 100ml fresh milk
- 1 large fresh egg
- 3 hard boiled eggs (slice with an egg slicer)
- Salt to taste
- 100ml of sunflower oil
- Broad leaves (ewe eeran)
|Moin Moin Elewe|
What to do
- Pass the bean flour through a fine sieve to get rid of lumps or foreign objects.
- Place sieved bean flour into a large mixing bowl. Add about 500ml of the hot (not boiling) water and using a whisk, mix gently but thoroughly, ensuring that the flour dissolves completely without forming any lumps.
- Then add the milk, oil. Also crack the egg and add. Continue to mix all together using the whisk until you achieve and emulsion. The egg in particular acts as an emulsifier which helps define the texture. Blend the onion, pepper and chilli (if using), and add to the mix. Carefully mix all ingredients together to get a homogeneous mixture.
- Add the stock and stir in gently. You may notice foam/frothing, this is desirable so ensure you do not break up all the tiny bubbles as they will help the moin moin to rise during cooking. Add the remaining hot (not boiling) water a little at a time to get a consistency similar to pouring yoghurt. The water added affects the overall consistency so if you want your dish to remain soft when cool, then add more water, if not, add less. On this point, practice makes perfect.
- Once you are done with mixing, before you cook the entire batch, first cook a taster. Cook a small portion to check the taste/flavour and texture of the resulting moin moin.
- Adjust the salt, texture as required.
- Wash the leaves thoroughly to remove debris, stalk etc, then fold into a conical cup/shape. The folding of the leaves is an art in itself and requires lots of practice (as an alternative, you can use foil containers or ramekins). To avoid leakages from the leaves, select only the large ones with no holes in them.
- Scoop small portions of the moin moin mixture into the cupped leaves, drop a couple of sliced hard boiled eggs and wrap into shape securely to avoid leakage. The art of wrapping does take time to master so dont be too hard on yourself if you cannot get it right the first time!
- Place in a steamer and steam cook for about 40 minute. Its ready!
- Serve with eko, bread or soaked gari.
|Moin Moin Elewe being steamed|
|Steaming Moin moin|