Moin-Moin Babble

Last week my friend Chinwe decided she was going to make moin-moin and posted it on Facebook. This sparked a renewed longing to grind my kitchen and produce something of an American version, given the fact that I buy the local beans I find here. I haven’t worked at it yet, but this may well be the week I knock on my apron and get my wife laughing at my American moin-moin début. My Ijebu garri has been languishing and waiting for an appropriate companion for a while now 🙂

But this points me back to some thoughts of what made eating moin-moin exciting for me. As a child, my mum’s creation wrapped in nkong (what Efiks call the leaf used in wrapping the bean paste) was deservedly top-class. From the way she creatively separated the skin from the bean seeds using a mortar and pestle (although I soon became the point man for that part of the labour), to the blending with pepper and ground dried crayfish plus other ingredients to match, to the skilful apportioning of the paste into the leaves and finally to neatly wrapping the leaves, without a single drop of the paste leaking out, before placing into the pot. There was something near divine about the whole process and I usually observed it with strict attention.

But I hereby confess that the real reason I watched the moin-moin making process was to note what exciting things were buried in each wrap. Admittedly, I cannot stand any wrap of moin-moin that doesn’t contain some form of flesh; whether it flies, crawls, swims, or walks. Once the meal touches my plate the first thing I do is to divide it asunder with my fork. With the keen senses of an explorer, I investigate what riches lay beyond the smooth skin of the finished product. If the content thereof is null, I immediately lose my appetite no matter the depth of the hunger or the intensity of the expectation. Eating moin-moin for me was beyond satisfying my belly, it was also about fulfilled expectations.

Frankly, to me, the quality of moin-moin lies beyond its taste. I grade my moin-moin by what it has in it. Now I wholly blame my mother for this! When I cut through with my fork, the first requirement is that I must encounter a slice of boiled egg. Only then will my tongue become watery, indicating that the necessary fluids for digestion have been duly secreted. Then the next encounter should reveal some shredded fish or shredded beef. Now my tummy will start churning and hoping for a feel of the meal. Finally there must be found the presence of shrimps within the congealed substance for me to slam it a five-star rating. Any moin-moin without these listed treasures is nothing short of gastronomic murder. How can it by any means satisfy?

Moin-Moin making on the streets of Lagos

This attitude was nurtured from my childhood and still remains the way I assess moin-moin. Now that I am a matured man and can do as I please in my kitchen (after convincing my wife to stay outta the kitchen), I have promised myself to load my moin-moin with edible creatures to my sheer delight. Every slice will bleed with crustaceans, mammals, bird-parts, and aquatic organisms. This way, like in my juvenile exhilaration, every portion dropped in my mouth will be accompanied by humming a twaddle tune and finger-tapping the table. Unfortunately I am that bad….lol. But gladly, I am not as bad as Chinwe who will watch and mark every of the most garnished wrap in the boiling pot so that when it is being served, she will corner the best. That is a condition called “moin-moin-tosomitis” and it is incurable…he he he… (This note is dedicated to Chinwe Ekenna who sparked my hunger for moin-moin again)

Note: If you are not in the motherland and will like to learn how to prepare this dish, then follow the link I provide here: http://www.avartsycooking.com/2010/01/make-moi-moi-steamed-bean-pudding/

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20 thoughts on “Moin-Moin Babble

  1. Great article Reggie. It seems moi-moi, the eating, making and all other aspects of it is something of an emotional topic for you 🙂 Funny enough, i couldnt be more different from you when it comes to moi-moi. Whereas you appear to favor the “elemi-meje” or “seven-spirits” class of the dish, I’m a complete purist in that respect. My motto with moi-moi is “less is more” and nothing other than a sprinkling of salt and smoked shrimp, onions, bell peppers (for color) and hot red peppers make it into the bean batter. On occassion, I add some shitake mushrooms not just because they give an intense, woody flavor which I like but also for the health benefits. I can already hear you saying “yuk” as I type this, LOL.
    That said, I’m as much a moi-moi head as the worst ones out there and appreciated reading and learning from a fellow ‘obsessed’ – at the very least I learnt that the word “moin-moin-tosomitis” existed…

    • Oh Ebele…Thanks for dropping by. But what are these strange things you are customizing into a time-honoured delicacy? Please respect the spirits of the motherland and do not defile it with modern inventions in the name of health benefits…lol 😛 Nothing is as healthy as receiving grandma’s blessings after the odour swooshes past her… 😀
      In any case, as long as it contains some living organism, whether plant or animal…it is generally acceptable 🙂
      I am attempting mine on Saturday and will post the pics to update this note 😉

  2. lol… Good to know that the love for moi -moi still exists.. I actually binged on it that night and by the next day, the 8 cups I made had gone through my intestines.. but really ebele.. what you just proposed looks appetising and worth experimenting and since i have all the ingredients and specimen in my fridge.. i’ll let you know by this weekend how it went down. The next food on my list is akara and agidi(eko in yoruba).. stay tuned..

  3. Reggie,

    I think you have been spoilt growing up on rich meat filled moi moi 🙂

    When I got back to Australia after some time in Cross River, this is the food I missed most. I tried a few times to make it at home but was never able to master it and achieve that silky texture.

    Needless to say, I have not been holding back on the moi moi this time around. And a Nigeria friend is giving me moi moi making lessons this weekend. Cant wait.

    Georgia

  4. Too funny……but all these for moi-moi?Reggie I have to taste ur moi moi one of these days! The”dividing asunder” part killed me! Lol

  5. pls teach me how to cook a tasty moi-moi,even to the extent that someone who claims not to like eating moi-moi will looooovve it.

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