Moi Moi: Delicious steamed Nigerian bean cakes

April 2, 2017

Moi moi nigerian black bean cake

Sometimes you crave something hot, delicious & healthy – Well this is it! Moi Moi is a Nigerian dish, a sort of savory bean pudding served alone or as a side dish.   It has been over 20 years since I lived in Nigeria but I still remember how happy it made me to eat it! Little did I know back then how nutritious it was. It is made with Black eyed peas which are a great source of iron, which any anemic person can appreciate.  Black eyed peas also contain other minerals like potassium which is necessary in the management of blood pressure. That’s not all!  They are a great source of fiber and we can all use some more fiber.  

The recipe calls for onions which you may know has a number of beneficial vitamins and minerals including copper and vitamin C. The other star ingredient in this dish is red bell pepper. Did you know red bell peppers are loaded with vitamin C which is not only important in the prevention of the common cold, treating fatigue but also in helping your body to absorb iron. Vitamin C has so many benefits including helping to prevent cardiovascular disease! Yes, eat more vegetables to lower your risk of hardening of the arteries and heart disease.  

Meat, fish and eggs can be added while making Moi Moi for more taste and a greater source of protein but if you are vegetarian or vegan then you can certainly omit this step.

Ok, you get the point, not only is this dish going to taste amazing, but you can eat it guilt free and impress your friends and family at the same time! Can you imagine unwrapping these banana leaf steamed bean cakes at a special occasion! Yes, if you want to be really traditional or organic then I suggest you get some banana leaves.  If you are Nigerian then you have certainly eaten Moi Moi  at one point or another out of tins, foil or plastic bags which is the common way of packaging it- and for those of you who haven’t- OMG I can’t wait for you to try it!  Below is the recipe and instructions. It is not hard to make but the most tedious part is washing/peeling off the skin of the beans. You can also watch me make it on the video below.  


1 lb (16 ounce) Black Eyed peas

1 large onion

1 large red bell pepper

1 habanero pepper/scotch bonnet pepper

2 hard boiled eggs

1 can of mackerel or sardines or smoked fish

Seasoned salt to taste or 2 bouillon  cubes or crushed maggi cubes

1 teaspoon each of Paprika & Thyme

2 tablespoons of oil ( vegetable, olive oil or red palm oil)

Approx 2-3 cups of water

  1. Wash and soak the beans in water overnight or at least for 3 hours. They will expand in size.

2. Scrub off the outer layer of skin by rubbing them against each other between your hands. You will need a sieve to remove outer layer which will float to the surface.

3. Blend the beans well after adding a 1-2 cups of water along with coarsely chopped onion & peppers.  (You may need to do this in two batches)

4. Pour the bean batter into a large bowl and stir well before adding your powdered seasoning.

5. Add oil to your batter and stir well again for about 5 minutes.

6. Spoon batter into your pouches made of banana leaf/ foil sheets/sandwich bags/tins (click to watch video about how to make simple pouch options)









7. When the pouch or package is half full add a small piece of fish & sliced egg and then top off with more batter before sealing.

8. Place a round wire rack into a large pot with a small layer of water (or large steamer) Carefully add the pouches into the pot and cover them with extra banana leaves before covering with the lid. If you are not using banana leaves to wrap the Moi Moi then skip above and just steam the pouches in a lid covered pot.

9. Bring to boil then lower heat and steam for 45 mins to an hour.  (Midway you will need to add more water to the pot to prevent it from burning).

10. It is done when the center is firm. Serve hot and enjoy alone, with a stew or as a side dish.

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