Moi Moi leaves

Moi Moi leaf

This week, I wanted to share a really quick post on some information on the moi moi leaves I found when doing some research for my moin moin recipe post.

Traditionally, the moi moi leaves are used in making moin moin. It takes quite some skill to pour liquid(ground beans) into carefully folded leaves, and ensure that when the wrap is placed in a pot to steam, the ground beans don’t leak out. The leaves are also used in wrapping a variety of other foods for cooking such as eko(steamed corn starch).

Moi Moi Leaves

Moin Moin Leaves

The proper names of moi moi leaves

These leaves are not to be mistaken for banana leaves. The scientific name for Moi Moi leaves is Thaumatococcus daniellii. It is called ewe eran (loosely translated to goat/sheep/ram leaves) in Yoruba. This is probably because they are sweet and goat/sheep/ram love these. In Ibo, they are called Uma leaves.

Interesting facts

  • Moi moi leaves contain a sweet protein called thaumatin. This would explain why moin moin steamed in leaves taste better than those made in anything else.
  • Each leaf grows individually on a stalk from the ground, rather than on a stalk with multiple leaves as one might expect.
  • Moin Moin Leaves

    Moi Moi Leaves Growing

  • Thaumatin is extracted from the leaves and is used as a sweetener, in substitute for sugar.
  • The leaves are indigenous to the rain forests of west Africa, but have also been introduced to Australia and Singapore.

So, next time you are making moin moin, and you are trying to decide what to steam your bean pudding in, reach for the moin moin leaves. 🙂

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