By chance, in a picturesque pocket of the Algarve, surrounded by rolling landscape and unforgettable, un-crowded beaches, I met the power behind this traditional, yet exciting product.
Whilst playing some enthusiastic water volleyball with our respective kids, I got talking to Omamo Binitie, Varo Foods Director. An accountant by profession, he had a vision to produce the savoury West African Moinmoin in a convenient form but of the highest quality which could be sold worldwide.
What exactly is Moinmoin?
Synonymous with ‘age-old’ Owambe parties enjoyed in Nigeria, Moinmoin, a savoury steamed pudding of beans, scotch bonnet peppers, smoked mackerel/fish and spices is often eaten as an accompaniment to Jollof rice, fried plantain or even custard! Alternately, it can be eaten as a snack on its own and washed down with a cool fruit drink.
More than a little curious to sample this traditional delicacy, I got cooking!
MY WAYS WITH MOIN MOIN!
Ridiculously simple to heat through, taking 3 and a half minutes in a microwavable container or, my preferred option, steaming in its tin on the hob for 10minutes, it slides from its container with ease.
With some research, I discovered that making Moinmoin from scratch vastly reduces partying time! It involves much soaking, scrubbing and grinding of black-eyed or brown beans, not to mention the prepping of fish and other fresh ingredients which are then added to said beans prior to lengthy steaming - quite a task!
Smooth in texture, not unlike cod’s roe, it had small flakes of mackerel running through it and an instant but pleasant heat with a smoky note coming through.
I could not resist having a play with this product and came up with a few ideas you might enjoy.
Simple and delicious, I made this dip by blending cooled Moinmoin with low fat natural yoghurt.
MOINMOIN CRISPY BAKES
Moinmoin blended with fresh mashed potato and vegetables, coated in fresh breadcrumbs and baked in the oven for a family snack with a kick! (see website for recipe)
MOINMOIN WITH 'JOLLOF STYLE' RICE
With a nod to the traditional version, try my savoury rice served with plenty of sliced Moinmoin!
(see website for recipe)
I have really enjoyed dipping a small toe in the water of African cuisine. There is no doubting the sheer passion behind this ready meal. The desire to produce a true likeness of the Moinmoin made at home in the traditional and natural way for hundreds of years has been the essence.
A recent tasting carried out with the public produced remarks such as “ It’s just like my mum makes it and my aunty makes it”, “It’s very good, oh wow it’s in a tin, I would not have known that!”, “I don’t know how to make it, it’s very complicated”.
Global Cuisine could not have put it any better by saying, “people who eat together, stay together”. Living in a multicultural society as we do, we have much to learn of one another’s food and culture. If you are already familiar with this West African delicacy, I am sure you will be delighted by its authentic yet convenient qualities. If not embrace this lesser known dish and enjoy!
Moinmoin can be ordered online and you can find your nearest stockist by simply entering your postcode on their website. It retails at £1.79 per 210g tin - excellent value.
The beautiful map of Africa used in my blog is with the kind permission of Antioch University, Los Angeles.