This Koki Recipe is sure to be your go-to weekend breakfast
Koki is a steamed bean cake usually made with either peeled honey beans or black-eyed peas. For those familiar with moi moi, the Nigerian version does not deviate too far from the Cameroon version. The biggest difference is the addition of palm oil, cocoyam leaves (or in our case spinach leaves), and the way it is wrapped prior to steaming.
When I first experienced koki, I was visiting my good friend Feh, my Cameroonian older sister. I call it an experience because of the presentation. When served koki, I was amazed by the spherical base and the narrow top. This koki recipe is sure to pique anyone's interest.
Ingredients & Tools
🇳🇬 Nigerian Moi Moi vs 🇨🇲 Cameroonian Koki
When talking about koki, its very easy to also talk about Moi Moi (or moin moin), a Nigerian dish. So it is no surprise that these two neighboring countries can have similar dishes but various ways of preparing them. Moi Moi and Koki, begins with soaked and peeled honey beans, or black-eyed beans. However, the major difference between the two is the fillings. Moi Moi is given its red color by blending red bell pepper and habaneros together with peeled beans. For koki, the red color is from palm oil.
Traditionally both are steamed in local leaves, in Nigeria, the leaf is made with uma leaves whereas banana leaf is used for the Cameroonian counterpart. Lastly, as mentioned above the Cameroonian koki is filled with cocoyam leaves also known as taro leaves. Nigerians tend to leave their moi moi plain or with bits of meat and fish.
Locally you can find koki at street food vendors similar to that of suya or puff puff, or at sit down restaurant.
Need to learn how to Peel Beans?
I used already peeled beans for this recipe, however, if you're interested in peeling your own beans, check out this fast and easy how-to:
🌱 Koki is Already Plant-Based
I guess the title, "Vegan Koki Recipe", is click-bait then? Koki is actually a vegan dish, it really boils down to your seasonings. Make sure that you're using the appropriate Maggi/bouillion cubes.
How to Build your Koki Using Banana Leaves and Foil
Here's a step by step video on how I prepare the koki in banana leaves and foil prior to steaming:
🥡Storing and Reheating Your Koki
The good thing about wrapping your leaves in foil is that the packing up part is pretty much done for you. You can place the cooked koki in the fridge for up to 4-5 days, afterwards, you can store it in the freezer for 1 month. Use freezer bags to reduce freezer burn.
I am not the biggest fan of leftovers but Koki never feels like leftover because reheating it is like cooking it all over again. To reheat, place your koki in a shallow pot of hot water, and let steam for 10-15 mins.
- If using peeled beans, make sure to rinse the beans until the water runs clear without foam
- Blend your beans until the texture is a medium rough to fine gritty texture.
- Shake and mix your beans in between pulsing and blending to ensure even texture.
- If your banana leaf is torn or is not enough to hold the koki, layer more leaves along the base to create a crisscross. You can work with banana leaves as narrow as 2 inches.
- 1 cup of peeled beans
- ½ onion, roughly chopped
- ½ habanero pepper (optional)
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 2 tablespoon of palm oil
- 1 tablespoon of vegetable bouillon
- Banana leaves
- Rinse beans until the water runs clear without foam.
- Blend beans with onions, garlic, and habanero pepper for added spice with 1 cup of room temp water - blend until you get a fine gritty mixture. Pour into a mixing bowl.
- Heat palm oil in a skillet until oil darkens and liquifies (5 mins)
- Stir in heated palm oil into bean mixture.
- Season with salt, curry, and vegetable bouillon.
- Sprinkle and fold in the spinach into the bean mix.
- Bring 4 cups of water to a boil.
Constructing the Koki
- Place foil over a small bowl. Press it inward to take shape.
- Place a clean banana leaf over your foil, smooth side facing up.
- Spoon your koki mix into your leaf, pressing down.
- Pinch the corners of the leaf together. Do the same with the foil. Press firmly.
- Add the wrapped koki into the pot of boiling water, cover, and let steam over medium heat for 20 minutes.