Most of us know what Moin Moin is. Whether you grew up in Nigeria or not, you would know what Moin Moin is, but many of us may not know about its sister Ekuru. I am not sure where the origins of Ekuru are from, but I think it is Kwara, although some people from Ondo claim it is their dish. I have always wondered why they came up with the recipe. The only thing I can think of is that it was likely an accidental recipe that caught on. Someone was probably told to make Moin Moin and the person forgot to blend the peppers, onions, crayfish etc, with the beans. We know these happy accidents happen in the kitchen, and many, many recipes have come about from unlikely kitchen mishaps.
Think about it, Ekuru is a funny dish. I mean, it is made exactly like Moin Moin, but rather than blend the peppers, onion, crayfish etc with the beans, the beans are blended on its own, while the rest of ingredients are made into a sauce and eaten with it. Tell me, that this probably wasn’t someone’s mistake and the person thought, what the heck, I will make a sauce out of the ingredients that I forgot to add when blending the beans, and voila, problem solved. Ekuru is Moin Moin’s fraternal twin sister, fraternal because, while Ekuru is closely related to Moin Moin, it has its own identity as it is very fluffy and porous. A lot of air is whipped into it (more than Moin Moin), plus the potash which makes it very porous and crumbly. My grandma used to make Ekuru when we were little and medical science says muscles have memory, well my arms definitely remember the pains from whipping air into Ekuru and anytime the thought came up to make it, something within me resisted. I haven’t eaten Ekuru in almost a decade. Then I was reminded about its delight by a member of So You Think You Can Cook, who posted a gorgeous picture of Ekuru and Eko (agidi). The Ekuru was just perfect, the way Mama used to make it. I looked at the picture, liked it and shuddered, then Labake typed magical words that set me dancing. She whipped air into the bean paste using a food processor. I thought, WHAT!!!!!, very, very clever. Geez, that will save my tiny arms from work. If I wanted toned arms, I’ll rather lift weights. Hehehehe.
With my new found volition to attempt peeling beans using a blender which was successful (process HERE), plus Labake’s food processor tip, Ekuru was suddenly within my reach. It just happened that while picking the container of beans from the store, my hands brushed against my muffin tray, and a wicked smile came on to my face. I looked up and saw my muffin containers and an idea was born. Since the process of making Ekuru is defying tradition (blender + food processor), I may as well take it further, and try something not expected. I present you my Ekuru Muffin.
You will need
2 cups of beans – this should feed roughly 3 adults
Potash – kaun or akawun
smoked red crayfish
Tatashe – red bell peppers
Ata rodo – scotch bonnet/habanero pepper
1. Peel the beans and blend with water to form a smooth paste. The paste should not be runny, nor thick. Try to find a happy balance. If peeling beans with your hands will scare you off this recipe, don’t worry, you can peel it in a blender in minutes. Click HERE for instructions
2. The next process is to add the bean paste to a food processor or a mixer, attach the whisks and power away.
you will need to whisk for at least 10 minutes at highs peed to properly incorporate air into the paste. Remember to stop at intervals so you don’t burn out the engine.
then you sprinkle in the potash. I used a quantity that is about half a seasoning cube
once the potash is in, keep whisking again for roughly another 10 – 15 minutes until you see lots of bubbles in the paste and it has increased in volume.
3. If you are going to be using a muffin tip, you can follow the steps below. If you have the leaves to steam it, and you need instructions on how to do that, click HERE. Alternatively, you can bake this in foil pans, silicone moulds etc. If you never knew you could bake Moin Moin, now you know.
So, line your muffin tray with paper muffin containers, i only had white ones at home, but next time I make this I will be using those colourful ones, just for effect. Scoop in the bean paste mixture into the muffin containers, till the level shown in the picture. At no point should you be tempted to add any salt, seasoning or oil. Ekuru is made just like that
then place in the oven at 180 degrees Celsius or 350 degrees Fahrenheit, for 15 – 18 minutes.
Something quite impressive happened while it was baking. The Ekuru was rising in the oven, just like a Muffin. To say I was pleasantly surprised would be an understatement. I was just grinning sheepishly. My idea worked and it rocks. hehehehehehe.
see, just like a Muffin. I think it has to do with all that air whipped into the bean paste and the potash too which acted like a rising agent.
While the Ekuru muffins are baking, crack on with your sauce. What I noticed is that the muffins ann a little bit after I took it out of the oven, so don’t let yours be sitting while you make the sauce, prepare both at the same time, so you can serve your gorgeous muffin with the sauce at once.
4. To make your sauce, which is basically a simply rich friend stew. Ata din din as the Yoruba’s call it. Heat a little sunflower oil or palm oil in a pot or pan, add the chopped onions, and let it soften a bit
then add the smoked red crayfish and allow it to fry with the onions, releasing its smokey flavour.
5. Then you add the blended pepper and allow it to fry, till it thickens
then you add a little water or beef stock, crayfish, salt and seasoning to taste, and allow it to fry till it releases the oil to the side, then take it off the heat.
6. Right about this time, the muffins should be done. Stick a toothpick into it, and it should come out clean.
Take one out and open one just to be sure it has cooked through. The Ekuru even has the texture of a muffin. Also very porous and fluffy. I think to recreate the steaming effect, I am going to cover the muffins with another muffin pan, just to seal in the moisture, which will keep the top from getting dry.
Now, you can serve the ekuru muffin side by side with the sauce in a plate, but you can get all creative, by coring the centre of the muffin with a serrated knife and filling it with the sauce, just as you would for a cupcake filling.
Ta daaaa!!!. Beautiful isn’t it
Lay it across a rectangular platter and serve.
Ekuru goes Chic
Do this for your new year’s party and no one, I mean no one will be expecting it.
Or you could just treat yourself on a lazy Saturday or Sunday morning with Ekuru muffins and a hot cup of tea, hot chocolate or coffee.
The truly Nigerian Breakfast