Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Oven baked Moin-Moin (Black-eyed peas/Beans cake)

Moin-moin is a West-African staple. Oftentimes it is eaten for breakfast or as a side dish to rice dishes like jollof rice or fried rice.

The process involved in preparing this dish can be tedious as it involves removing the skin from the beans. This usually involves soaking the beans for the right amount of time for the skin to start separating and then repeatedly 'washing' the beans to remove the skin. In my younger days, as much as I loved eating moin-moin, I hated 'washing' the beans.

Once the beans are washed clean, they need to be ground to a smooth as possible paste and then other ingredients are added.

Today, international food exportation and the modern day cook, has brought about an 'easier-almost-same' variation to the process. In almost any store that sells ethnic foods, you can find beans flour. This eliminates the washing and grinding and is instead mixed with water to create the said paste.

Typically,  the added ingredients to the paste are :- water (to achieve a paste consistency of a light cake batter), ground scotch bonnet peppers, ground red bell peppers (tatashĂ©), ground onions, oil (vegetable or palm), dry ground or small pieces of fish/sardines or hard boiled eggs (I have actually used canned corned beef) and salt to taste. Bouillion cubes such as maggi, curry and other spices can also be added.

I personally play around with the ingredients each time I make it - sometimes depending on what I have at home. Traditionally, moin-moin is cooked in banana leaves, or special aluminum ramekins and stemmed in a water bath sort of like a cheesecake, but instead of in the oven, on the stove top. These days, I make mine in the oven, it takes a lot less cooking time and tastes pretty darn good.

Here are the ingredients for my last moin-moin treat.

Beans flour
Green bell peppers
Chopped red onions
1 can of sardines
Olive oil
Boullion cube (maggi)
Curry powder

- Mix beans flour in water to cake batter-like consistency and leave to rest for about an hour (read instructions on the package, not all require resting time)
- Blend green peppers and onions in a blender with some water
- Once beans mixture is rested, add blended onions and peppers and mix
- Add chopped onions, can of sardines (mashed up a bit), olive oil, salt, maggi and curry powder (taste for salt) and mix to ensure even distribution of all ingredients
- Pour into an oven safe dish (glass or aluminum is fine)
- Place in a 350 degree oven until a toothpick or knife comes out clean when pierced (just like you would a cake). This should take about 30-45 minutes.

And voila! Enjoy on it's own or with oatmeal (or Akamu/Ogi Naija folks) for breakfast or as a side dish.

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