from: Western Africa | cooking method: steaming
Moyin-Moyin (also called Moin-Moin, Moi-Moi, Moimoi), a sort of savory bean pudding, is a unique and delicious way to prepare black-eyed peas or other beans. The traditional way to cook Moyin-Moyin is to wrap it in leaves (such as banana leaves) and steam it. In modern Africa it is often cooked in empty tin cans, but it can also be made in muffin pans (muffin tins). There are many variations of Moyin-Moyin. Skip all the optional ingredients to make a simple version; include one or more of the optional ingredients to make fancy Moyin-Moyin. Also see the Akara recipe.
What you need
- two to three cups dried cowpeas (black-eyed peas) or similar
- one tablespoon dried shrimp powder
- one or two tomatoes, (peeled if desired), chopped -- or -- a similar amount of canned tomatoes -- or -- two tablespoons of canned tomato paste
- one or two onions, chopped
- salt and black pepper to taste
- chile pepper, chopped, to taste
- cayenne pepper or red pepper, to taste
- oil to grease muffin tin
- Optional Ingredients (a cup of one or more of the following):
- cooked shrimp, chopped
- cooked carrots, finely chopped
- cooked peas
- sweet green or red pepper (bell pepper)
- hard-boiled egg
- dried, salted, or smoked fish; washed, cleaned and torn into small pieces
- dried shrimp or prawns, washed and crushed
- canned sardines
- leftover cooked meat, cut into small pieces
- dried or smoked meat, torn into small pieces
- canned corned beef
What you do
- Clean the black-eyed peas in water in a large pot. Cover them with boiling water and soak them for at least an hour or overnight. After soaking them, rub them together between your hands to remove the skins. Rinse to wash away the skins and any other debris. Drain them in a colander. If the beans have soaked only a short time, they may be cooked in water over a low heat until they are partially tender.
- Crush, grind, or mash the black-eyed peas into a thick paste. Slowly add enough water to form a smooth, thick paste. Beat with a wire whisk or wooden spoon for a few minutes. A tablespoon of oil may be added. In a separate container combine all other ingredients and crush and stir them together until they are thoroughly mixed. Add the other ingredients to the black-eyed pea paste and stir to make a smooth mixture.
- Grease the muffin pans (or tin cans). Scoop the Moyin-Moyin mixture into your pans (or cans), allowing some room for it to rise while cooking. Place the pans (or cans) in a baking dish partially filled with water. Bake in a medium-hot oven for about a half-hour. Moyin-Moyin in tin cans can also be steamed in a large covered pot on a stove. Check for doneness with a toothpick or sharp knife, as one would for a cake.
- Alternate cooking method: Wrap the Moyin-Moyin mixture in banana leaves or aluminum foil to make small packets. Cook the packets by steaming them in a large pot, using a rack to keep them out of the water.
- May be served hot or at room temperature.
Is Moyin-Moyin a reduplication? See the Coupé-Coupé recipe.
Beere had a passion for moin-moin
Wole Soyinka's Aké: The Years of Childhood (New York: Vintage International, Random House, 1981) is a autobiographical novel set in Nigeria. Moin-Moin, steamed in leaves, are thus described:
Beere had a passion for moin-moin and she was so fond of moin-moin made by Wild Christian that she often sent one of her elder children, Koye or Dolupo all the way from Igbein to Aké for Wild Christian's moin-moin. When she came in person and joined our parents at table, a shriek of outrage was wrung from her if an over-zealous maid had unwrapped the steamed delicacy from the leaves. For her, the sublime parts of moin-moin were those wafer-thin truants which leaked into the folds of leaves and were now steamed into light, independent slivers, to be peeled leisurely from their veined beds and sucked smoothly through the lips in-between, or, as a finale to the chunky mouthfuls of the full-bodied moin-moin. The hapless maid produced moin-moin paraded in all its steamy, but naked glory and Beere would confidently insist that the leaves be retrieved. There was no danger; she knew very well that they had not been thrown into the dust-bin. We watched her glide meticulously through every leaf, prise through the stuck-together leaves with a skin-surgeon's care, casually picking up the oiled wafers along the way and licking her lips in ostentatious enjoyment.
Other African gastronomical excerpts
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