Moi moi (steamed bean pudding)

My mother was staying with me this weekend and I thought it would be nice to also invite my best friend and now neighbour round for lunch. Apart from spending time with some of my favourite people, I did have an ulterior motive in mind. As you know, I have recently purchased another new recipe book ‘Afro Vegan’ and I’ve been wanting to make the meals and share them with people that would appreciate the taste.

I have already made the jollof rice and my mother’s verdict was that it was ‘OK’. I might still have a way to go! However, undeterred, I was still determined to tackle the other recipes. Moi moi is another classic Nigerian recipe and another one that I have made with varying degrees of success. Of course my mothers version is the best one but I think I also wanted to explore other flavours and methods.

This version that I made – has coriander mixed into it, something I’ve never seen my mother do. The whole process was made easier by the purchasing of eyeless (peeled) black eye beans. However the final product did not have as much taste and flavour as I expected. I was a little disappointed but I think it just means I’ll think a little more creatively when I make the next batch. I think I’m going to add some vegetable stock instead of water. I wonder if that was the edge that was missing for me. Also I might add more pepper, I’m used to moi moi being slightly hotter, well at least Mummy’s one. I did however really like the coriander taste that did come through.

I really loved the concept of cooking them in cupcake cases. They came out small, cute and perfectly shaped. When I was younger my first recollection of moi moi was that which Mummy placed in old cans. We used wash them out, dry them and keep them for the special occasions that she made moi moi. Then I remember spending Christmas Eves making up little aluminium foil containers to put the moi moi mixture in. When we left home my mother started buying and using banana leaves which are the more traditional moi moi mould.

Since leaving home my mould had been ramekins but I think the cupcake holder method is here to stay.

Ingredients

400g/14oz dried Nigerian honey beans (oloyin)

2 red peppers, 1 roughly and 1 finely chopped

1/2 red onion, roughly chopped

1 vegetable stock cube, crumbled

1 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

1 tsp chilli powder

1/2 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp fine salt

3 tbsp sustainable red palm oil

Small bunch of coriander, finely chopped (optional), plus extra leaves to garnish

Method

If you cannot get Nigerian honey beans, it’s also really good made with black-eyes or drum beans.

Peels the beans. When the skins are off the beans, rinse them off one last time, and soak them for at least 4 hours or overnight

Heat the oven to 180oC/350oF (160oC/325oF fan). Drain the beans, then add them to a blender or food processor with the roughly chopped red pepper, red onion, Scotch bonnet and 350ml/11 3/4fl oz water and blend to a smooth batter. Set aside.

Dissolve the stock cube in 1 1/2 tablespoons of boiling water in a small bowl, with the spices and salt. Then stir in the oil. Whisk the mixture into the batter for 5 minutes, until fluffy. Fold the finely chopped red pepper (and coriander, if using) into the batter.

Line two cupcake trays with 15 – 18 cases. Pour the batter into them and place the trays into roasting tins, so that they fit inside easily. Half-fill the roasting tins with boiling water to create a water bath. Cover tightly with oiled aluminium foil and transfer to the oven.

Bake for 20 – 25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Let them rest for 10 – 15 minutes, then remove from their cases and serve with a scattering of coriander leaves.

Reference: Afro Vegan, Zoe Alakija, page 100

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