Here at TheVeganKind Supermarket we recently started selling Love Moin Moin Mix from The Real African Food Co. Moin Moin is a delicious Nigerian food made from black-eyed beans, which makes for a great meat alternative in vegan dishes!
We spoke to Bolu from The Real African Food Co to find out more about this delicious dish, and how The Real African Food Co are striving to bring traditional Nigerian foods to tables across the UK.
Where did the inspiration for The Real African Food Co come from?
The inspiration came from growing up with my Nigerian mother’s cooking – she was always coming up with new recipes, and she would test her creations on me and my siblings. Friends, family and even our schoolteachers would always praise her various creations and I knew there was something special there. About a decade ago I noticed African food in the UK was growing steadily more popular, and so I wanted to create products that honoured my true authentic heritage whilst also having an appeal to other cultures. Key to this was an emphasis on quality ingredients and great packaging!
Can you tell us a bit more about Moin Moin, and what makes it so special and unique? What are the best ways to use this ingredient?
Moin Moin is a special dish that is a staple in Nigerian celebrations – weddings, birthdays and so on! One of the reasons Moin Moin is so highly regarded is because it can take a very, very long time to make. The main ingredient is black eyed beans, which have to go through a rigorous and time consuming process of soaking, peeling and grinding before you even begin to add the sultry herbs and seasoning – and then steam!
So whenever Moin Moin is on the menu there’s a sense of appreciation, because someone else has done all of the hard work for you to enjoy. This is exactly why we developed our unique Moin Moin mix. One of the greatest things about Love Moin Moin Mix is that it’s so versatile. There are endless recipes from savoury pancakes, to burgers, roasted kebabs and Moin Moin chunks in ramen bowls. Black eyed beans is also a nutrient-rich ingredient with a whole bunch of health benefits including lowering risk of diabetes and improving blood pressure.
What values are most important to you when manufacturing your products?
When you invite someone to taste food you’ve prepared, you’re inviting them to taste a culture. For me it’s important that our customers experience all of the richness, depth and taste West African cuisine has to offer – we’re authentic to our culture and heritage, and we aim to bring our foods to a wider audience in an accessible way. We have really honed into the vegan and free-from elements of Love Moin Moin Mix for instance, as we know that this is something important to consumers.
What has been the biggest challenge The Real African Food Co has faced so far? What about the biggest achievement?
Starting something new is always challenging as you have to do all of the hard work, every step of the way. We have to educate people to the tasty possibilities that Love Moin Moin Mix can offer whilst also having to find a relevant reference point that they can identify with, since for many the product is brand new to them. For us the biggest achievement is honestly seeing the vast amount of recipe creations different people continue to make with Love Moin Moin Mix – it gives us a sense of joy to see a traditional Nigerian dish celebrated in the hands of fellow foodies!
How has the pandemic affected The Real African Food Co, and do you have any new products or exciting milestones coming up as life starts to return to normal?
We have been overwhelmed by the level of online orders that we saw for our products during the pandemic as more and more people looked to discover new foods to prepare and eat at home. We have benefited from a new customer base, and thankfully there has been no disruption to our retail distribution, although raw materials have increased in price. We’re excited that our Love Moin Moin Mix will be going into a free-from range with a supermarket later this year and we look forward to championing the delights of West African food to the masses!
Love Moin Moin Mix is now stocked at TheVeganKind Supermarket! You can find out more about The Real African Food Co at @realafricanfood on Instagram.