Is Moin Moin Safe to Eat?

Moin moin is a popular savory bean pudding made by steaming a batter of ground beans with some added peppers onions etc. Recently in Nigeria, there has been some concerns about the consumption of this special dish, a favorite for most.

So while there is absolutely nothing wrong with the dish itself, there are serious concerns about how it is made.

Traditionally, moin moin is made by steaming a batter of blended beans, in banana or broad leaves (ewe eeran read more here), but in recent times all types of containers have been used to steam the pudding. Most commonly used containers include tins/cans, foil containers, cellophane/polythene plastic bags and even old fruit juice/drink bags such as Caprisun sachets.

Cooking Moin Moin Safely
This is my perspective, once you ingest food (or anything at all), that's it, in terms of the effects or impact the food has on the body, either good or bad. So it is so important to ensure that you are fully aware of what your food contains before eating it, because on in your system, its takes a great deal of effort to remove it, it at all you can remove it!

Most times, we innocently ingest what would turn out to be harmful to our bodies. But I have found that with adequate understanding of food, food materials, utensils and methods used to prepare our food, we will be helping ourselves immensely, to avoid food related dangers.

Its quite understandable that we seek out methods, equipment or materials that can help make our lives easy in the kitchen and make the process of cooking much more convenient and simple, this should by no means blind our eyes to the myriads of danger that could be lurking in the corners, that may have devastating and irreversible effects on our health and well being.

I personally go all out to investigate materials and methods I use in my cooking, satisfying and convincing myself that they not only enhance my cooking, but also would cause no adverse effects on my health...

So when it comes to making my Moin Moin, I stay away from using certain containers....

Nylon, Cellophane, Polythene, Plastic
These come in different forms, but essentially have similar chemical composition. Depending on their quality, some are considered safe and some are not so safe for cooking, food storage or packaging.

These materials contain many chemical compounds some of which are really dangerous for human consumption and are thought to interfere with animal/human hormones. and fertility... Two of these chemicals include bisphenol A and phthalates.

The real danger is that, while it may be okay to store food in these materials at room temperature, at elevated temperatures, these chemicals leach into food packed/cooked in them, making that food unsafe for human consumption.

I really do not recommend any type of cooking using plastic containers or bags so I try everything possible not to cook food in containers made from nylon, cellophane, polythene or plastic.

For food storage and packaging seek out these types of plastics:
A - Good quality high density polyethelyne (HDPE) plastic containers or food bags

B - Use  those made from Polyethylene Teraphthalate (PET). These types of containers are meant to be used just once. They are not suitable for re-use.

C - Good quality  low density polyethylene (LDPE)

For specific cooking techniques which require cooking food in plastics, such as Sous Vide, there are special, food safe plastic containers that are recommended.

Certainly stay away from cooking with plastic containers used to package other products, like cooking oil, juice, etc. Re-using most of these materials, (example Caprisun sachets, ) is highly hazardous.

Most tin containers are susceptible to rust, So in order to minimize rust, tins are coated with a thin layer of lacquer to prevent rust and also to prevent the tin from leaching into food.

Lacquering makes the tin container sustainable for packaging certain foods. The food must be at a certain pH to ensure its safety for human consumption. Foods with high acidity can remove the lacquer layer and expose the food to leaching. At elevated temperatures, the lacquer can also be removed and again exposing food to leaching.

Avoid re-using tins which have been used to pack food such as milk tins or baked beans cans. Use only tins which have been manufactured specifically for cooking or baking.

Safe Materials for Cooking Moin Moin

1. Traditional Leaves: These are the safest materials to use for steaming your moin moin. Broad leaves locally called ewe eeran or banana leaves are safe and actually impart some flavour to the finished dish. These should always be your first choice

2. Ceramic, Pyrex or glass containers such as ramekins or souffle dishes. These containers are specifically designed for cooking and can withstand cooking at high temperatures. They come in different sizes and are really ideal for making moin moin.

3. Foil paper/containers: there are some concerns again for some foil containers, but they are much safer than plastic containers.

4. Baking pans/tins : These are also made designed for high temperature cooking. They come in different shapes and sizes and are so convenient and easy to use.

Moin Moin made in a Loaf Baking Pan/Tin

Moin Moin made in Ramekin


  1. Thanks for the article Funke. Can plantain leaves be used also?

    1. Yes, banana/plantain leaves can be used as an alternative, though I have not tried it out before. You would need some experience to be able to wrap moin moin with banana/plantain leaves

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