Haitian Mayi Moulen with Sos Pwa Nwa

When time permits, I love to use Saturday afternoons to play a bit with new recipes. This past weekend, I found myself exploring new territory as I experimented with this comforting Haitian meal. It was interesting to discover how such familiar ingredients as polenta, black beans and coconut milk can be brought to life in a completely different context. This meal was simple to prepare, and the beans could certainly be prepared in advance. Enjoy!  

Sos Pwa Nwa

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • 1 cup dried black beans, rinsed
  • ½ cup coconut milk
  • ½ tablespoon unsalted butter
  • ½ tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • ½ chicken bouillon cube
  • Salt, to taste  
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper  
  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan or pressure cooker over medium heat. Sauté the onion, garlic and scallions until golden, about 8 minutes. Add the beans and cover with 2 inches of water.   Bring the water and beans to a boil over medium-high heat, cover, then cook until the beans are soft, adding water if needed, or cover the pressure cooker and process for 20-25 minutes. 
  2. When beans are tender, uncover and remove from heat. There should be some water remaining, not quite enough to cover them, if there is an excess, drain it off. 
  3. Pour beans and cooking liquid into a high-speed blender. Purée the beans until smooth.
  4. In the cooking pot, over low heat, add coconut milk, butter, bouillon cube and chopped parsley. Add beans and bring to a gentle simmer. 
  5. Cook the bean purée until it’s the consistency of rich gravy. (Adjust with water or coconut milk if necessary.)  
  6. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Warning: This mixture is so yummy on its own you may be tempted to stop right here and eat it all with your tasting spoon. But don’t, you will miss the full effects which are more than worth the wait!

Mayi Moulen

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 cup coarse yellow cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • ½ teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme  
  1. Heat the oil in a heavy medium saucepan over medium heat, and sauté the onion and garlic until barely golden, about 6 minutes. Add 4 1/2 cups water, and bring to a boil.
  2. Pour in the cornmeal in a thin stream into the boiling water, stirring constantly, and add the parsley, thyme, salt and black pepper. Continue to stir for a few minutes to avoid lumps.  
  3. Lower heat to a gentle simmer. Cook uncovered,  stirring occasionally, until the cornmeal is tender, with a soft but not runny consistency, 20 to 25 minutes. Adjust with more water or salt if necessary.
  4. Spoon onto a large serving platter or individual plates, topping with a layer of sos pwa nwa, sliced avocados and chopped parsley