Ghanaian Food: Waakye, best bought on the street !

Waakye is another food that exhibits Ghanaians’ creative use of rice. This is a great example of amazing “poor man’s food”. The recipe is a medley of beans and rice and was originally a Northern dish, but it can now be found almost everywhere on the streets of Accra. Eating Waakye will open the door to a range of Ghanaian tastes and flavours as the main dish is served with other sides such as fried plantain, garri (grated cassava), spaghetti and avocado.

Another meal that Ghanaians love just as much as jollof, but which they’re probably just trying to keep away from Nigerians. It’s called waakye. Waakye (pronounced ‘waachay’) is a combination of red or black-eyed beans and rice, and it’s often served with salads, spaghetti, fried plantains, garri, meat and fish. It’s a delicacy all over the country, and Ghanaians frequently queue at stalls to buy it for their breakfast or lunch.

400g of Black eyed Beans
250g of washed Jasmine rice
2.2 litres of water
6 strands of Red Millet leaves
Half a teaspoon of Potash or Akaun (Optional)
Salt to taste
Place your beans and 1 litre of water into a saucepan on a medium heat.
Cook for 25 minutes and add the Akaun (if you’re using it).
Remember you can omit using the Akaun if you soaked the beans overnight.
Cook till the water runs dry and add another litre of water.
Cook the beans for another 15 minutes and add the washed Millet leaves and cook for 5 minutes.
(It’s best to add the Millet leaves at this stage to infuse its colour into the dish).
Add the washed Jasmine rice and stir everything together.
 Seal with a crunched up grease proof paper ,cover with the lid and cook on a low heat.
 Cook for 15 minutes and stir to ensure the colour of the Millet leaves permeates through every grain of rice.
Add 200ml of water and
seal the rice again with the grease proof paper lid.
Cook for 25 minutes and voila you have your perfectly moist Waakye or Ayimolu.
Remove and discard the Millet leaves when cooked.
For a less moist recipe, try my other recipe where I used Basmati rice or Ghanaian brown rice.
Waakye originated from northern Ghana, where rice and beans are staple food crops. However, it’s not clear which specific ethnic group is responsible for pioneering this national treasure. Depending on where it’s prepared, certain variations exist in its ingredients, like the ratio of rice to beans or the spiciness of the accompanying shitor (hot pepper sauce). Nevertheless, it manages to maintain a generally consistent taste.

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