Everyone will agree that wrapping moi moi in local leaves is the best. Anyone that argues with you over this must either not have taste buds, or a nose that is working well. Lol. I didn’t learn how to do this, until I was an adult because I literally avoided learning how to as it always looked complicated, and the few times I tried it as a teenager, the results were disastrous. The paste leaked everywhere, so I just gave up. Lol. During outdoor cooking for family functions, my Aunties started on my case.
Ola, you must learn how to wrap moi moi. Aunty, I don’t know how to. Ah, you must learn, so they will not tell you in your husband’s house that we didn’t train you well. Aunty, wrapping moi moi is not an essential skill, after all I can cook. Noooooo, you must learn. A true Yoruba woman should know how to. That wasn’t the time to remind them that I was only half Yoruba anyway. Lol.
My Aunties used to lament about how wrapping moi moi is gradually becoming a lost art. Most of you ladies of nowadays take the easy route they would say, while shaking their heads. Lol. Your husband and your in-laws will be happy you know how to wrap moi moi. Me: rolling my eyes. Lol. Then they would launch into stories of how knowing how to wrap moi moi is a bonus. Oh they taught all their friends, ah my sister-in-law became close to me after I taught her how to, ah, my mum in law was this and that, oh all their daughters know how to, so you too must learn. Geez, to get them off my back, I finally gave in, and I am quite pleased to say I know how to wrap moi moi in leaves.
I have tried to explain it as best as I could, using flashbacks from my memory. Funny enough, all of them explained the process to me in English, lol, so I am passing down their exact words. Lol
1. Rinse the leaves thoroughly, to get rid of dirt. Pair the leaves in two’s. A smaller one and a larger one. Local leaves are not easy to source here, so I used only one. Luckily, I was taught how to use one, or two leaves. Whoop, whoop. Back home, my mum, aunties and grandma would line the base of the pot by trimming the spines of the leaf, but the one I bought had already been trimmed, so I used one leaf and tore it longitudinally.
Flip the leaves over, so that the spine is facing you. With one hand, flip the right half of the leaf over the spine.
Let it lie over the spine, and wrap the other half of the leaf over it forming a v-shaped funnel
a v-shaped funnel that narrows down into a tail
Make sure that the tail end of the leaf, properly wraps or folds around the tail and is tucked in well. You MUST do this, otherwise, the paste will leak as soon as you pour it in. The tail must feel thick and firm
you see that last end sticking out just by the ball of my palm. That right there, is a rookie mistake. I took the picture to show you guys. The last bit of the leaf must NEVER stick out. Wrap in such a way that it is lying against the body of the tail, and use your thumb to keep it down. As seen in the picture below
Now you have the leaf all well wrapped and tucked in, use your other hand to fold up the tail of the funnel backwards and hear the spine snap. Use the fingers of the hand holding the funnel, to keep this folded bit in place. Dip your hand into the funnel to widen it and to ensure that the inner wrap is lying against the body of the funnel. See the picture below.
See how the inner wrap is lying flat? This is what you want. Using a cup, pour the bean paste in, and drop in 2 pieces of eggs.
If there is a gap, between them, the paste will leak out from there. Look at the picture below, see the gap? That is not what you want, if you are a novice at wrapping moi moi.
If you are pro like me hehehehehe, you can still have this gap, and the paste will not leak out, as the leaves have been wrapped around tightly, there is no room for any leakages at the sides. I wrote this, just so that the pros won’t read this and tell me of course you can still have a gap. If you are a pro, yes, for a novice, you are asking for tears and a messy kitchen. Lol
It is of note to point out that you should not over fill the leaves, otherwise, when you come to fold it over, it will spill. You should fill up to 3 quarters to the beginning of the v shape. After that, using your other hand, you pinch the top right part of the leaves between your fingers and fold it to the left over the spine, to get a rectangle which you pin down with thumb of the other hand. With your freehand, you do the same to the other half of the leaf, i.e fold it to the right, which closes the funnel and takes on a long semi rectangular shape with a tip at the top, like the shape of a birds beak. Just picture the beak of a bird, and you’ll know what I mean.
Release your thumb which you used to pin down one fold, now use that thumb to pin down both folds, and with your other hand, fold the beak like shape backwards. To complete the Moi-Moi, moi shape. Now you have both the top part and the tail end of the cone folded and they are lying against the back of the wrap. Place the wrap in the pot, ensuring that the moi moi is sitting flat on the folded bits and not at an angle, otherwise, the wrap will loosen. The weight of the bean paste it is harbouring will keep it in place. As you can imagine, there was no free hand to take pictures during this stage.
Don’t worry, your first one may not be perfect, with each wrap, you’ll get better at it, and with subsequent trials, you’ll do even much better, till you can beat your chest, and call yourself a pro. Lol. Repeat this process until you have exhausted all the paste.
Place the pot on the cooker, add 1 cup of water, cover the wraps with one leaf, cover the pot and place on low heat. If you use high heat, the water will evaporate and the leaves will burn. Moi, moi is steamed in essence, and not cooked if you want to be technical.
…………..and that’s it. I think pictures tell a better story than a video, as you will not have to pause and rewind while holding the leaves precariously in your hand. I hope this helps many people.
How do you know when the moi-moi has cooked? The colour of the leaves will change from dark green to brown
Inspired to try out the leaves, the next time you come across it in the market? I sure hope so. We all know, the leaves add a wonderful flavour and aroma. If you encounter any problems, email me or leave a comment immediately, and I’ll work you through it.