Want a new way to eat legumes? Then you must try these Nigerian bean cakes! They’re super easy to prepare and extremely versatile.
Bean cakes or ‘Moi Moi’ as they’re traditionally called in Nigeria are a staple. Many families eat them for breakfast at weekends with a millet or corn pudding.
We make bean cakes by soaking brown beans overnight in cold water to soften the bean skins. The skins are rubbed off, and the peeled beans are blended in a food processor with salt, chilli, and palm oil.
Flaked fish (usually mackerel), and boiled eggs are added to the mixture, which is then spooned into special leaves, wrapped and steamed.
You can make these bean cakes fat-free by omitting oil, and vegan by replacing fish and eggs with mushrooms.
If you don’t have the patience to soak beans overnight, you can use black-eyed bean flour. Chickpea flour or gram flour are suitable alternatives. My recipe uses black-eyed bean flour.
Before we get into the recipe, let’s explore the
Nutritional Benefits of Nigeran Bean Cakes (Moi Moi)
Beans are naturally rich in dietary fibre, which we need to maintain digestive health. Dietary fibre lowers your risk of coronary heart disease and stroke. It also improves insulin sensitivity, and thus reduces your risk of type 2 diabetes. Fibre promotes satiety, which is beneficial for weight management.
Beans are a good source of protein, B vitamins, iron, copper, magnesium, zinc and phosphorus. They are naturally low in fat, free of saturated fat and cholesterol-free. Beans also have a low glycaemic index (ranging between 10-40), meaning they do not raise your blood sugar levels sharply.
Mackerel is an excellent source of omega-3 fats, particularly EPA and DHA. EPA and DHA are anti-inflammatory compounds, which maintain the flexibility of your cells and tissues. They are essential for proper development of the brain (especially babies). Omega-3 fats also promote healthy ageing, skin health and lower the risk of several inflammatory conditions such as heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease.
Mackerel, like most fatty fish, is an excellent source of vitamin D. Vitamin D is vital for healthy bones and teeth and to boost immunity.
Medium glycaemic load
These bean cakes have a glycaemic load of 11, meaning that they won’t spike your blood glucose levels. They’re an excellent choice for people with diabetes or anyone eating a low sugar/carb diet. The glycaemic load of these bean cakes is much lower if you use whole beans instead of bean flour.
I highly recommend eating these bean cakes with a side salad or steamed non-leafy vegetables. Eating them with fermented corn pudding (like Nigerians typically do) increases the carbohydrate load of the meal, which can lead to insulin spikes.
A healthy recipe for Nigerian Bean Cakes (Moi Moi)
Heat the oven to 200C.
Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
Grease 4 medium ramekins with olive oil then divide the mixture equally between them. Cover the ramekins with foil then bake in the oven for 40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
Serve with a side salad, or steamed / lightly stir-fried non-starchy vegetables.
- Serving Size: Per serving
- Calories: 265kcal
- Sugar: 1.1.g
- Fat: 10.2g
- Saturated Fat: 1.7g
- Carbohydrates: 26g
- Fiber: 5g
- Protein: 17.3g
Keywords: Bean cake, Nigeria
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