Mayi Moulen Ak Pwa: Haitian Cornmeal With Kidney Beans and Coconut
Dady Chery

Avocado

By Dady Chery
Haiti Chery

Introduction

I remember well the first time I ran into “polenta.” It was at a business dinner in a fancy restaurant. The elaborate introduction came from a waiter who was probably supporting his way through an acting career. The shock of being presented a cylinder of cornmeal the size of a container of facial powder, artfully decorated with two asparagus spears and one slice of portabella mushroom, after an exhausting day of work has never left me, nor the humiliation of begging for peanuts at a hotel bar later that evening.

In Haiti, Mayi Moulen is peasant fare. The ingredients are cheap, but the meal is dear. Lots of love in it. The value is in the preparation. Mayi moulen is eaten by the boatload, usually with sliced avocado, which happens to be in season right now.  After a meal of Haitian Mayi Moulen, you are guaranteed a heavenly nap.

Bon appetit!

Ingredients

Spices to be ground:

3 Garlic cloves, peeled
1 Teaspoon peppercorn
2 Scallions, chopped
3 Parsley sprigs (leaves)

Main Ingredients:

1 Cup dried red kidney beans
1 Cup coarse cornmeal
4 Cloves
1 Can coconut milk (about 400 ml or 13 1/2 oz)
1/4 Cup of olive oil
1 Medium-sized onion, minced
1 Large ripe avocado (slightly soft when pinched)
Sea salt (1 teaspoon or to taste)

Preparation

The night before the meal, soak the beans in 3 cups of water.

The next day, discard the water in which the beans had soaked. In a pressure cooker, add enough water to the beans to cover them by about 2 centimeters (1 inch), bring to a boil. Lower the heat just enough to maintain the pressure, and boil the beans until they are fork tender (about 10 minutes).

If you are using a normal cooking pot, add enough water to the beans to cover them by about 2 inches and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to the minimum needed to keep boiling, and boil the beans uncovered until they are fork tender (60 to 90 min).

Meanwhile, grind the spices with a mortar and pestle. Start with the peppercorn; after they are ground, add the rest and continue.

When the beans are cooked, strain, to separate the beans from the liquid. Save both.

In a deep, heavy pot, heat the oil. Saute the cooked beans together with the ground spices and onion for about 5 minutes. Add the coconut milk, bean water, salt, and cloves. Bring to a boil. Add the cornmeal and stir the mixture to prevent any lump. Cook for about 40 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir the mixture ideally by moving a wooden spoon in a circle against the side of the pot, to prevent the cornmeal from sticking to the pot. (Note: if you reduce the amount of oil, stir the mixture more frequently, because it will be stickier.)

Spoon the Mayi Moulen Ak Pwa onto plates while it is still hot. Serve with a slice of avocado on the side.

To ensure of a warm final spoonful of Mayi Moulen Ak Pwa, eat from the cooler edge, inward.

(Serves about 5 Haitians)

Sources: Dady Chery variation on Dominique Thomas’ recipe in A Taste of Haiti, by Mirta Yurnet-Thomas, Hippocrene Books Inc., 2002. | Featured image from ChefMag

Mayi moulin ak pwa

Introduction

The first time I ran into “polenta,” I was at a business dinner in a fancy restaurant. After an elaborate introduction by a waiter who was probably supporting his way through an acting job, I nearly died laughing when I was presented with a perfect cylinder of about three ounces of cornmeal tastefully decorated with two asparagus spears and one portabella mushroom. An hour later, I was begging for peanuts at the hotel bar.

In Haiti, Mayi Moulin is peasant fare. The ingredients are cheap, but the meal is dear. Lots of love in it. The expertise is in the preparation. Mayi moulin is eaten by the boatload, usually with sliced avocado, which happens to be in season right now.  After a meal of Haitian Mayi Moulin, you are guaranteed a heavenly nap.

Bon appetit!

Ingredients

Spices to be ground

3 Garlic cloves, peeled
1 Teaspoon peppercorn
2 Scallions, chopped
3 Parsley sprigs (leaves)

Main Ingredients
1 Cup dried red kidney beans
1 Cup coarse cornmeal
4 Cloves
1 Can coconut milk (about 400 ml or 13 1/2 oz)
1/4 cup of olive oil
1 medium-sized onion, minced
1 Large ripe avocado (slightly soft when pinched)
Sea salt (1 teaspoon or to taste)

Preparation

The night before the meal, soak the beans in 3 cups of water.

The next day, discard the water in which the beans had soaked. In a pressure cooker, add enough water to the beans to cover them by about 2 centimeters (1 inch), bring to boil. Lower the heat just enough to maintain the pressure, and boil the beans until they are fork tender (about 10 minutes).

If you are using a normal cooking pot, add enough water to the beans to cover them by about 2 inches and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to the minimum needed to keep boiling, and boil the beans uncovered for 90 minutes or until they are fork tender.

Meanwhile, grind the spices with a mortar and pestle. Start with the peppercorn; after they are ground, add the rest and continue.

When the beans are cooked, strain, to separate the beans from the liquid; save both.

In a deep, heavy pot, heat the oil. Saute the cooked beans together with the ground spices and onion for about 5 minutes. Add the coconut water, bean water, salt, and cloves. Bring to a boil. Add the cornmeal and stir the mixture to make sure there are no lumps. Cook for about 40 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent the cornmeal from sticking to the pot. Stir the mixture ideally by moving a wooden spoon in a circle against the side of the pot. (Note: if you reduce the amount of oil, stir the mixture more frequently, because it will be more sticky.)

Dispense Mayin Moulin Ak Pwa into plates while still hot. Serve with a slice of avocado on the side.

 

Source: Adapted by Dady Chery from A Taste of Haiti, by Mirta Yurnet-Thomas

 

Mayi moulin ak pwa

Introduction

The first time I ran into “polenta,” I was at a business dinner in a fancy restaurant. After an elaborate introduction by a waiter who was probably supporting his way through an acting job, I nearly died laughing when I was presented with a perfect cylinder of about three ounces of cornmeal tastefully decorated with two asparagus spears and one portabella mushroom. An hour later, I was begging for peanuts at the hotel bar.

In Haiti, Mayi Moulin is peasant fare. The ingredients are cheap, but the meal is dear. Lots of love in it. The expertise is in the preparation. Mayi moulin is eaten by the boatload, usually with sliced avocado, which happens to be in season right now.  After a meal of Haitian Mayi Moulin, you are guaranteed a heavenly nap.

Bon appetit!

Ingredients

Spices to be ground

3 Garlic cloves, peeled
1 Teaspoon peppercorn
2 Scallions, chopped
3 Parsley sprigs (leaves)

Main Ingredients
1 Cup dried red kidney beans
1 Cup coarse cornmeal
4 Cloves
1 Can coconut milk (about 400 ml or 13 1/2 oz)
1/4 cup of olive oil
1 medium-sized onion, minced
1 Large ripe avocado (slightly soft when pinched)
Sea salt (1 teaspoon or to taste)

Preparation

The night before the meal, soak the beans in 3 cups of water.

The next day, discard the water in which the beans had soaked. In a pressure cooker, add enough water to the beans to cover them by about 2 centimeters (1 inch), bring to boil. Lower the heat just enough to maintain the pressure, and boil the beans until they are fork tender (about 10 minutes).

If you are using a normal cooking pot, add enough water to the beans to cover them by about 2 inches and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to the minimum needed to keep boiling, and boil the beans uncovered for 90 minutes or until they are fork tender.

Meanwhile, grind the spices with a mortar and pestle. Start with the peppercorn; after they are ground, add the rest and continue.

When the beans are cooked, strain, to separate the beans from the liquid; save both.

In a deep, heavy pot, heat the oil. Saute the cooked beans together with the ground spices and onion for about 5 minutes. Add the coconut water, bean water, salt, and cloves. Bring to a boil. Add the cornmeal and stir the mixture to make sure there are no lumps. Cook for about 40 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent the cornmeal from sticking to the pot. Stir the mixture ideally by moving a wooden spoon in a circle against the side of the pot. (Note: if you reduce the amount of oil, stir the mixture more frequently, because it will be more sticky.)

Dispense Mayin Moulin Ak Pwa into plates while still hot. Serve with a slice of avocado on the side.

 

Source: Adapted by Dady Chery from A Taste of Haiti, by Mirta Yurnet-Thomas

 

Mayi moulin ak pwa

Introduction

The first time I ran into “polenta,” I was at a business dinner in a fancy restaurant. After an elaborate introduction by a waiter who was probably supporting his way through an acting job, I nearly died laughing when I was presented with a perfect cylinder of about three ounces of cornmeal tastefully decorated with two asparagus spears and one portabella mushroom. An hour later, I was begging for peanuts at the hotel bar.

In Haiti, Mayi Moulin is peasant fare. The ingredients are cheap, but the meal is dear. Lots of love in it. The expertise is in the preparation. Mayi moulin is eaten by the boatload, usually with sliced avocado, which happens to be in season right now.  After a meal of Haitian Mayi Moulin, you are guaranteed a heavenly nap.

Bon appetit!

Ingredients

Spices to be ground

3 Garlic cloves, peeled
1 Teaspoon peppercorn
2 Scallions, chopped
3 Parsley sprigs (leaves)

Main Ingredients
1 Cup dried red kidney beans
1 Cup coarse cornmeal
4 Cloves
1 Can coconut milk (about 400 ml or 13 1/2 oz)
1/4 cup of olive oil
1 medium-sized onion, minced
1 Large ripe avocado (slightly soft when pinched)
Sea salt (1 teaspoon or to taste)

Preparation

The night before the meal, soak the beans in 3 cups of water.

The next day, discard the water in which the beans had soaked. In a pressure cooker, add enough water to the beans to cover them by about 2 centimeters (1 inch), bring to boil. Lower the heat just enough to maintain the pressure, and boil the beans until they are fork tender (about 10 minutes).

If you are using a normal cooking pot, add enough water to the beans to cover them by about 2 inches and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to the minimum needed to keep boiling, and boil the beans uncovered for 90 minutes or until they are fork tender.

Meanwhile, grind the spices with a mortar and pestle. Start with the peppercorn; after they are ground, add the rest and continue.

When the beans are cooked, strain, to separate the beans from the liquid; save both.

In a deep, heavy pot, heat the oil. Saute the cooked beans together with the ground spices and onion for about 5 minutes. Add the coconut water, bean water, salt, and cloves. Bring to a boil. Add the cornmeal and stir the mixture to make sure there are no lumps. Cook for about 40 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent the cornmeal from sticking to the pot. Stir the mixture ideally by moving a wooden spoon in a circle against the side of the pot. (Note: if you reduce the amount of oil, stir the mixture more frequently, because it will be more sticky.)

Dispense Mayin Moulin Ak Pwa into plates while still hot. Serve with a slice of avocado on the side.

 

Source: Adapted by Dady Chery from A Taste of Haiti, by Mirta Yurnet-Thomas

Dady Chery

About Dady Chery

Dr. Dady Chery is a Haitian-born journalist, playwright, essayist, and poet. She is the author of "We Have Dared to Be Free: Haiti's Struggle Against Occupation." Her broad interests encompass science, culture, and human rights. She writes extensively about Haiti and world issues such as climate change and social justice. Her many contributions to Haitian news include the first proposal that Haiti’s cholera had been imported by the UN, and the first story describing Haiti’s mineral wealth.

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