I have not prepared Moi Moi in over a year, how time flies. I remember that it was over a year because a very significant event happened to me on this day last year and I have been smiling and praising The Lord all day for His Mercies and Grace that abound plenty in my life. Yesterday, I took a vacation day off work and I cooked all through from the early hours of the morning till late at night. I did not even realise how tired I was until afterwards. Even at my day job, I don’t work such long hours. Lol.
I was inspired to make Moi Moi after getting so many requests for my recipe. I decided to bite the bullet and peel beans. I am of the school of thought that beans powder will never step foot into my house, never, never, never. Nothing beats the taste of peeling the beans yourself and blending it. After giving up on Poundo flour for over two years now, thanks to discovering how to use a food processor (instructions HERE), using dried beans flour to make Moi Moi will be hypocrisy of the highest order. I don’t particularly enjoy peeling beans because I peel with the intensity of an OCD sufferer. No matter the volume of beans, I make sure not a single piece of skin is left. I am so trained and focused on that, it irritates my mum, lol. So, when I devote time to peeling beans, I use it as a period to reflect and dive well into my thoughts, I can almost not hear what is going on in my surroundings. Remembering the significance of today, and having so many flashbacks while peeling beans yesterday, made the time fly by so fast, I even enjoyed the experience.
Moi Moi elemi meje is a way of classifying moi moi with 7 ingredients. I wanted to go the full on 7, but I lacked some ingredients at home, and I did not want to go to the store. There are many personal choices with moi moi. Some like it plain, others packed full of flavours. Choice will always overrule. If you are going full on elemi meje, these are your choices; hard boiled eggs, crayfish, palm oil, vegetable oil, titus fish (mackerel), eja sawa (dried fish), eja kika (dried fish), corned beef, fried meat, sardines, and so much more. I have even heard of veggie moi moi, where you add peas, chopped spinach, carrots, runner beans, thinly sliced cabbage and the likes. Whatever works for you, cooking is personal.
Thanks to all the readers that inspired me to do this, and because of you guys, I have painstakingly taken the time to show you how to wrap moi moi in local leaves. This is another reason why I haven’t cooked moi moi in over a year. I can never steam it in nylon wraps or foil. I just can’t. The flavour of the leaves is part of the experience of eating Moi Moi. Its scent is unmistakable. Thanks guys, this is for you.
You will need
3 – 4 cups of beans – depending on how many people you are feeding
3 pieces of Ata rodo – scotch bonnet/habanero pepper
2 cooking spoons of palm oil
11/2 cooking spoons of sunflower oil
1 piece of Tatashe – red bell pepper
1/2 of a red onion
1 piece of mackerel
1 cup of crayfish
1 cup of eja sawa
1 cup of smoked prawns
2 -3 hard-boiled eggs
Seasoning cubes – knorr chicken cubes preferred
1. Peel the beans. To peel beans, you let it soak in tap water for 15 minutes and you rub the bean seeds between your palms to loosen the skin off the beans. Do this until you see the white body of the beans. Add more water to the bowl, stir it around, and watch as the skin floats up, after which you drain out the water, add more and continue peeling. When all the skins have been drained out.
There are many myths or instructions about peeling beans, I will share my grandma’s tips. Dooney’s Kitchen Tips – you don’t need to soak beans for hours to make the skin fall of easily. Mama always made us start peeling the beans after it has soaked for roughly 15 minutes and she always implored us to start peeling quickly, because the beans shouldn’t sit in water for too long. So, soaking the beans overnight is a no no. Your moi moi will taste sour because water makes beans ferment and it would have been soaking in water for hours. Try my method next time, and notice the difference. All you need is 15 minutes. The skin would have plumped up and it falls away very easily.
2. Whilst you are peeling the beans, boil the eggs. Also cut the mackerel into pieces, rinse the smoked prawns and eja sawa. Boil all three together and season with 1 seasoning cube, chopped onions and salt.
Why boil all three together, you may be thinking? Dooney’s Kitchen Tip: let me tell you one of my secrets to achieving a great tasting stock which in turn leads to an intensely delicious dish. Lol. If you’ve never boiled mackerel/titus fish with smoked fish before, try it next time and send me a comment. The taste of the stock, will make you go wowzers. I will be expecting your comments. Lol.
3. Blend the beans with the ata rodo, tatashe, onion and crayfish till you achieve a smooth paste. Remember to feel the paste between your fingers. It should not feel gritty. If it feels gritty, simply add water and blend again.
Remember my extra special Akara recipe (HERE)? I mentioned that you must be very cautious when adding water to blend the beans. With Moi, Moi, you should relax that rule otherwise you’ll end up with stone hard moi moi. You should blend the beans with enough water to achieve a fluid paste about the consistency of melted ice cream.
Now you have your bean paste, time to decide what your choice of oil will be. My grandma was allergic to vegetable oil, so everything was cooked with palm oil including moi moi and I loved it. My mum cooks moi moi with vegetable oil, and mama’s version with palm oil is much nicer, plus the colour is richer too. I love my moi moi with Palm oil, but for the sake of others, I split the bean paste into two, mix one with palm oil and the other with vegetable oil. If you are using Palm oil, heat it up in a small pot first, to get rid of the curdling taste on your tongue.
4. As mentioned above, I split the paste into two, add palm oil in one, sunflower oil in the other and stirred till the oil properly combines. It is essential to do this.
For the fish, break it apart with your fingers and add it to the paste. Do the same with the eja sawa and smoked prawns. Once these three are in, add fish stock and ensure to stir gently, so you don’t break apart the fish. Taste for salt and seasoning. I added extra salt and 1 seasoning cube to each bowl. Cut the eggs into rounds and set aside in a plate close to you.
Now the action begins. Wrapping the paste in local leaves.
I have written detailed instructions on how to wrap the leaves. Instructions HERE.
Simply follow it, and come back to this post to gorge at the finished product
………finished product, Sunflower oil
…………the finished product, palm oil. Notice the richer colour?
Have you been inspired now, to make moi moi from scratch? I sure hope so. Happy Cooking