There is a saying where I work, “if you need the solution to a problem, ask a Project Manager”. That phrase basically speaks for itself because Project Managers have solution driven minds. We spend our working hours putting out fires, chasing after problems, proffering solutions to risks before they manifest into issues, because one slip somewhere and your entire project plan can go down the drain, due to the fact that 9 out of 10 times, most items on your Project plan are linked in one way. Project Managers also have fantastic analytical skills, we look at a problem from all angles. To be successful as a PM, parts of the job must merge with parts of your personality, otherwise you will just be going through the motions i.e. you will be a good PM but not a great PM. If you are thinking of a career change, or someone has dangled the idea of being a PM in front of you, consider this paragraph and then decide if it is for you or not. To all PM’s out there, shout out to you guys for all the hard work and stress ulcers we go through, for the stringent deadlines and unco-operative teams, for the triumphs when red turns to yellow, or yellow to green, for the lows when the reverse happens, and everything in between. Here’s to you guys. We sure do rock don’t we.
I am very proud to say that an IT Project Manager like me came up with a solution to this problem. You have to admit that the traditional way of wrapping the moin moin leaves is a problem for thousands if not millions of women and men. Some bravely attempt it and get frustrated, with the bean paste spilling everywhere, and even when you manage to get some neatly wrapped, the gods of the moin moin leaves will be sniggering behind your back and waiting to unleash mischief, when you open the pot minutes later and find that half the moin moin has ended up in the pot. Sound familiar? Some don’t even bother at all, because the process looks so complicated, and it is easier to simply pour the paste into tins or containers and call it a day. What we all agree on though, is that the leaves do add flavour to the moin moin. An earthy leafy flavour that just rocks, so while many bemoan their inability to wrap the leaves, they just accept their fate and carry on. Well people, all that ends today. PM Elizabeth A. has shone a light at the end of the tunnel, your woes with wrapping the leaves are no more.
If you are thinking, come on Dunni, what is it, tell us NOW. Okay, okay, it is as simple as using the leaves to line whatever containers you will use for the moin moin. Honestly, it is that simple. With the traditional method, the bean paste steams in the leaves and gets infused with flavour, well the same principle applies here. The bean paste is sitting in the leaves too, enveloped in it, but this time you don’t have to wrap traditionally. Think of lining a cake or bread pan with baking paper, think of lining a container with foil, are you following my train of thought now? Good. Now, imagine doing that with leaves. Come on now, come on, imagine it, imagine it, wait for a few seconds, it will soon hit you how ingenious this idea is. Has it hit you now, are you smiling in triumph now, are you shaking your head thinking WHAT!!!!! OMG!!!! that’s genius. Of course, it is the same principle as wrapping. Yes it is, yes it is. I tried it on Sunday and it WORKS!!!!!!. Here’s how
You will need
Your choice of containers – foil packs – big or small, tins, ramekins, cake pan, bread tin, silicone moulds, ceramic baking dish etc
Moin Moin leaves – pre soaked in cold water for at least an hour
A pair of scissors
Foil paper – depending on the container that you are using
For this experiment, I decided to use not just two types of containers, but two shapes which will cover all the options of containers you will use. A foil pack (square) and a ramekin (circle)
1. Get out your foil pack, one leaf and a pair of scissors. Let the leaves soak in water before you even start the process of peeling the beans in a blender, blending etc. In the time it will take to have your bean paste ready, the leaves would have sufficiently soaked in water. Then you cut the leaves along the spine, leaving you with two halves. Discard the spine.
2. Now you can do this in one of two ways. This is Option A: line only the bottom of the container, with little bits shooting out at the side. You will need to do this, if you want the Moin moin to come out in a perfect shape, i.e. to follow the square shape of the container. The leaves will still infuse the flavour, but not as much. If you are catering or something, presentation is everything.
here is a closer shot
3. Pour in the bean paste, and add whatever topping you wish. This time, I am using sliced egg and fresh prawns.
a closer shot
4. Flip one edge of the leaf over unto the bean paste
5. Then flip the other edge over sealing the bean paste
6. Then you cover the foil pack with its paper cover, and you are done. Yes you are done. No stress, no spillage, no tears, easy peasy. The process took me less than 60 seconds. Yes, I am anal like that, I timed myself. If your container is not like mine, with its own cover, just cover with foil paper and tuck in around the edges, to seal the moisture in, giving the beans an enclosed space to steam and get infused with leafy flavour. That is Option A done.
Now to Option B. Results wise, this is much better because the bean paste is sitting completely in the leaves, exactly like with the traditional way of wrapping. This is a little more fiddly. Don’t go OCD like me, trying to make it pretty. Just sit the leaves in the container and call it a day. here’s how
a. Sit the leaves in the container completely, like you are trying to wrap the container inside out, with the leaves, like a present.
another shot of it
b. Pour in the bean paste and finish with your topping of choice. See, the bean paste is sitting completely in the foil. Like 100%. Same thing as the traditional method.
c. Flip the edges of both leaves over the moin moin, hey you do this too when wrapping traditionally
d. Cover with the container as before and seal
I repeated this process with more packs, and I was smiling through out. I hope I can bring this smile to you in your kitchen. No more traumatic experiences with wrapping leaves.
even a child can do this
That’s foil packs done. This will represent any square or rectangular container that you have at home. If you have an abundance of leaves, you can add another extra layer on top before you seal completely with foil or paper cover.
Now to the circular containers. I used ramekins, you can use any circular heat proof container. This was also easy too.
i. Sit the leaves in the ramekin or tin till the edges come out, pour the bean paste in and set aside.
ii. Repeat for your other containers, cover with a roundly cut piece of leaf, then cover with foil, tuck in around the edges, and you are done. How simple is that? You can also decide to leave it open.
iii. Add water to the pot if you will be cooking it on stove, then place the ramekins or tins in a pot and steam. Likewise, you could also place them in a deep baking tray like the picture above, add water to the tray and place in the oven. Yes you read that correctly, oven. Moin Moin can also be made in the oven. Let me expatiate more, especially for people who will doubt that leaves cannot be put in the oven. See below
The first three foil packs you can see, are the results of 3 experiments. Extreme Right, the foil pack is sealed completely. In the Middle, I deliberately left it unsealed, to see how the leaves will react in the oven. Extreme Left, I placed the paper cover loosely over the covered leaves. See the leaves seeping out? Below, the ramekins are sitting in a tray full of water. As the oven gets hot, that water will create steam hereby recreating the steaming in a pot process.
I set the oven at 200 degrees centigrade and set the timer for 30 minutes at first.
30 minutes later, here are pictures, the leaves have not caught fire (doubting thomases, take note), they are even still green. One of the signs of knowing when moin moin has cooked, if wrapped in the traditional way is the colour of the leaves. They should be brown and not green.
The leaves are still green, of course 30 minutes is too short for the moin moin to be fully cooked. Here’s the proof. It is almost there though. Squidgy in the middle, cooked at the edges. Because the leaves were left exposed, they are a little dry to touch.
for the ramekin. See, the leaves are fine too. Can you spy the bubbles in the water?
I set the timer for a further 30 minutes.
but by 20 minutes, I checked again and the moin moin had cooked through. Making a total of 50 minutes. See, the colour of the leaves? Brown, just like the traditional wrapping method. I hope you can see how moist the moin moin is.
For the ramekins too, all well cooked
The Grand Finale
Here’s the result of the foil packs completely sealed with their paper cover. Overall, in terms of the intensity of the leafy flavour, I will say it is this one, as the paper cover (you can use foil too) completely sealed the leaves in, nothing escaped, and it steamed nicely in the oven. A blind taste test, and you will not believe the moin moin wasn’t wrapped traditionally.
Ladies and Gentlemen, now that is cooking on easy street. Think of the last time you had a kitchen disaster with the leaves, now it is your turn to snigger and smile. You have overcome. Please teach your children, I sure will teach mine when I have them. I can’t wait to show my mum, plus peeling beans in a blender, Moin Moin has now become one of the easiest things to cook. No more excuses.
Saying a big thank you to Elizabeth A. for the inspiration. Genius you are. Nobel Prize in your future. hehehehehehehe.
Oh, one more thing, sorry I just have to add this bit. I am too naughty, not to (insert mischevious laughter). Some naysayers enemies of progress, will probably come up with, oh the traditional shape is beautiful, yadi yadi yada. Well if you can do it, yay for you, whoopdie do. I can do it too, in my sleep no doubt (proof HERE) but I am willing to embrace an easier method, which EVERYBODY can benefit from. Do let some of us live in 2014, and sit your judgemental ass down. Cooking doesn’t have to be tedious, you can manipulate ingredients, techniques etc to achieve the same goal. Science has manipulated old ways to give us the modern comforts we all enjoy now, so if anyone wants to scoff at this method, please drop your technological modern-day device which you used to read this, and go live in 1814, while you are at it. Hehehehe. Sticking my tongue out at you. Told you I was naughty. Looooooool.
Now tell me, this piece of moin moin is not as beautiful or even more than the traditional shape. Arching my eyebrow and daring you to say otherwise. hehehehehehehe. I will be posting the recipe for the Moin Moin below tomorrow. It is truly flavour packed with ingredients to wow your taste buds. Forks at the ready, tuck in.
Think of when you are having a party, how fast this process will be, just give each person one pack and call it a day. For portion control or for fancy plating, use ramekins and serve like that. After all in restaurants, you get served desserts in ramekins.
Remeber people, you saw this first on Dooney’s Kitchen. Any others would be counterfeits. Copyright rules apply.