Known as dehulling, peeling the entire outer shell of the cowpea is a step that many-a-Nigerian-cook deems essential in the pursuit of perfect Moi Moi. Dehulling produces “perfect” moist and tender Moi Moi. Leaving the hull (skin) creates a product that is tough and dry with an unappealing colour.
Although the hull is the outermost part of the cowpea, it contains disease fighting antioxidants, essential B-vitamins and more importantly, dietary fibre – a nutrient sometimes called “Nature’s Broom” because it removes waste and cleans the colon. Fibre improves stool quality, promotes regularity and decreases constipation. In addition, adequate intakes of fibre promote satiety and have been demonstrated to help prevent obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and various forms of cancer.
As a matter of fact, the World Health Organization recommends that adults consume approximately 27-40g of fibre every day. Unfortunately, with the rapid influx of affordable highly processed, quick and easy foods, many Nigerians do not even get half of this recommended amount.
We no longer eat fresh fruits and vegetables but instead we consume commercially prepared staples like “fufu-in- a-box” and white rice which are often stripped of fibre long before they reach our supermarket shelves. A cup of raw cowpeas provides 18g of fibre; that is almost half the daily requirement. Unfortunately, the average Nigerian will not reap this benefit from Moi Moi because most of the fibre in the pea is discarded.
To reap all the benefits of healthy cowpeas, consider doing some of the following things:
While it may be easy to declare that Moi Moi should now be eaten with the hull because the hull is high in fibre, it is not always a practical recommendation. Personal taste preferences definitely should be considered. There is no point in making fibre filled Moi Moi if no one will eat it. If your family does not mind Moi Moi with a different consistency than the traditional variety, try leaving the hull. However, if everyone turns their nose up at the very sight of it, don’t serve it. Rather, look to add fibre by following the above tips or adding a wide variety of fresh fruits, raw vegetables, whole grains and other unprocessed foods.