Moin-Moin (Nigerian Savory Black-eyed Pea Cake)

by on January 1, 2009
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Moin-MoinHappy New Year!

As you know, it’s supposed to be lucky to eat black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day. Every year around this time I scour my cookbooks and my imagination for new ways to cook them because the way I grew up eating them was, frankly, a little boring–as well as not vegetarian. Last year I made Creole Black-eyed Peas, and though I missed New Year’s by a few days, I think I had a fairly lucky year. I renewed my luck in May by making Spicy Collards and Black-eyed Peas–two lucky foods in one dish. One of my favorite black-eyed pea dishes, Texas Caviar, hasn’t made an appearance on this blog, and since it’s a salad, I think it will have to wait until the temperature is above freezing.

When I read about moin-moin (or moyin-moyin), a savory Nigerian pudding or cake made of black-eyed peas, I was very intrigued. Information about it was hard to come by, however, because every website I found was passing around the same, identical recipe. Finally, I happened upon a post by Fran Osseo-Asare –complete with video–at BetumiBlog that filled in all the blanks. I learned a great trick for getting the skins off of the black-eyed peas (you literally rub the black-eyes off, what fun!) and discovered that you can cut up pieces of moin-moin and serve it on toothpicks as an appetizer, as shown above.

Moin-moin seems to be very versatile: You can eat it cold or hot, as a part of a meal or as a snack. There are similar dishes made of ground black-eyed peas throughout western and central Africa, including akara, a fritter with mostly the same ingredients. The traditional way to make moin-moin is to steam it in banana leaves or, when they are not available, aluminum foil. For my first attempt at making moin-moin, I used small ramekins instead–or, to be more exact, I used the six ramekins I had and used foil packets for the other two servings. Dealing with the ramekins was easier than making and filling foil packets, so that is the technique that I’m illustrating here. If you’re interested in using aluminum foil, do check out the videos on the BetumiBlog.

These little cakes or puddings are mildly seasoned, which seems to be traditional, but have the strong, characteristic taste of black-eyed peas. I found no mention of serving them with any type of sauce, but being a saucy Louisianian, I couldn’t resist eating them with some spicy cocktail sauce (a mixture of ketchup, horseradish, and hot sauce). Their mild flavor would be complemented by any number of sauces, though give them a try alone first so that you can appreciate their simple, savory flavor. Serve them with some Quick and Delicious Collards and reap your lucky rewards in the new year!



(printer-friendly version)

1 cup dried black-eyed peas
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
1 roasted red pepper (or 1 fresh, seeded red pepper)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/4 cup vegetable broth
1 1/2 – 2 teaspoons Old Bay Seafood seasoning (see Note)
1 teaspoon salt (or to taste–see Note)
1/4 teaspoon white pepper

Wash the peas and pick over them to remove any debris. Put them into a large bowl and cover with hot water at least two inches above the level of the peas. Soak for at least one hour.

Soaked Beans

Drain off the soaking water and place the peas in a food processor. Pulse briefly about 12 times, until peas are just barely broken.

Coarsely chopped
After pulsing

Pour the peas back into the bowl and cover with water. Rub the peas between your hands, removing the skins. The skins will float to the top. Pour off the skins, into a colander, and repeat this process several times.

Skins in the colander
Skins in the colander

Once the skins are removed, the peas will be white. It’s not necessary to get off every single skin, but try to remove as many as possible.

Black-eyes removed
Black-eyes removed

Put the skinned peas back into the processor. Add the chopped onion, roasted red pepper, tomato paste, and about 2 tablespoons of vegetable broth. Process until completely smooth (this may take a few minutes, depending on your processor).

Processed to a paste

Pour the mixture back into the bowl. Stir in the Old Bay seasoning (or other, see Note below), salt, and white pepper. Add a tablespoon or two of vegetable broth, if necessary, to make a thick but pourable slurry.


Heat water in a steamer or deep pot with a steamer basket set over it. Oil 8 ramekins. Pour a scant 1/2 cup of the batter into each ramekin and cover with aluminum foil. Set ramekins into steamer.

In steamer
Ramekins in double-decker steamer

Steam for about 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a ramekin comes out fairly clean.

Keep covered with foil to preserve moistness until ready to serve.

Note: You may use any seasoned salt instead of the Old Bay and salt. Use about 1 1/2 – 2 teaspoons and add more to taste.

Makes 8 cakes. Per serving (2 cakes): 158 Calories (kcal); 1g Total Fat; (3% calories from fat); 10g Protein; 29g Carbohydrate; 0mg Cholesterol; 606mg Sodium; 5g Fiber. Weight Watchers: Core / 2 Points.

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

1 The Curious Baker February 9, 2010 at 2:49 pm

Wow! You made moin moin! I grew up eating this and never thought I'd find it on a blog! You're really quite the adventurous one. Suddenly got a craving for some moin moin, better dash down to the kitchen and eat some! Thanks for sharing! :~)


2 maureen June 7, 2010 at 4:36 am

you just cured my home sickness lol. thanks for sharing!


3 Harley June 28, 2010 at 4:17 pm

I’m Nigerian, and this dish is a staple at our household. It’s delicious and is very versatile, like you mentioned. Thanks so much for sharing!


4 justina obas July 23, 2010 at 8:09 am

you have just made my day. i never new the calorie content of dish. that is the problem we weight are having in nigeria


5 fa August 31, 2010 at 5:06 pm

Susan, Bravo. I love moin-moin and your explanation and receipe is exact. The visual display added autheticity. I am really impressed that you took the time to find this and I bet you proabably make it better than some Nigerians. I loe it but find it to be labor intensive but I got a clue – to soak in boiled water as opposed to cold.

A variation of the plain moin -moin will be vegetable additions and/or additional proteing such as egges, shrimp and so on.

How do you determine caloric content per serving?



6 Kiwi September 21, 2010 at 11:35 pm

I find that if I add an egg to the blend, it keeps the moi-moi from becoming a dense mass when it cools.

Well done.


7 Amaka September 30, 2010 at 2:55 pm

Thumbs up, very impressive!!!


8 musicisthenewblog January 6, 2011 at 10:54 am

I’m a Nigerian Vegan and it never once crossed my mind that I could make moimoi vegan! I’m so used to seeing it with eggs, fish and shrimp.
That said, I do have a trick that can cut down the prep time. If you check a local ethnic/African food store they might stock “Bean Powder”. It is just powered beans and all you have to do is hydrate it with some cold stock, tomato , pepper and seasoning.


9 Anty Harton January 17, 2011 at 6:36 am

Thank you. I really need that trick 🙂
I’m going to make Bollitos de Carita.


10 omot May 31, 2011 at 11:43 am

i have recently grown to love this local delicacy and have eaten it at least 8times weekly in the past 1 year in my attempt to shed some weight, the good thing is that i never seem to tire of it.


11 Tola Bello December 11, 2012 at 4:11 pm

Love the way you made out your Moi-moi. But next time just buy the Beans flour and make it out. That cuts out a lot of time and till gives you great moi moi. Better save time.


12 Abah Matthew Oloche February 17, 2013 at 11:05 am

Nice presentation. Keep this good work going on please. Take care


13 Nancy November 6, 2013 at 11:17 pm

Thanks for this recipe! Have fallen in love with blackeyed peas and am working my way through all the great ways to make them. Question: can these little cakes be steamed then kept in the fridge a day or two or must they be made fresh for each meal? Best blessings!


14 Susan Voisin November 7, 2013 at 6:49 am

Sure! Just keep them covered in the refrigerator, and they should be fine.


15 redmoonbev January 2, 2014 at 3:25 am

Thank you, I will definitely be trying this. It looks similar to a Dhokla (Indian chickpea flour steamed cake) which I really like. Have you ever made that? I’d be very interested to see your version of a Khaman Dhokla, especially the topping (tadka) that uses oil.


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