Waakye actually pronounced “Wachay” is a very popular Ghanaian street food. Rumor has it that this meal originated from the northern past of the “Gold Coast”. Usually made with rice, black eyed beans and sorghum mill stalks. I can vividly remember my days in Accra, Ghana and how waakye was my go-to-food; It was somewhere between 6 to 10 Ghana Cedis for a decent pack of this delicacy.
Someone once said on Twitter that waakye looks like sacrifice to the gods (LOL), but I promise you when you try it you’d keep coming back for more. Just make sure you get an extra serving of plantain and shitor… Enjoy.
Generally, Waakye is simple and the meal requires about 15 minutes of preparation and an hour and a half of cooking time. Here’s a list of ingredients you’ll need:
3 cups rice
11/2 cup red beans or black-eyed peas, or any kind of beans or peas
6 dry sorghum leaves (or 1 teaspoon of baking soda)
Some salt to taste
15 cups of water
The preparation is quite easy but slightly methodical. First, you’ll need to rinse the beans thoroughly and then soak in water for 3–4 hours. Then, you can drain the beans and pour in a pot of water, and let it cook for about 45 minutes.
Be sure to wash the sorghum leaves before cutting them to 3–4 inches. Now, toss them in with the boiling beans, and allow them to cook together. If sorghum leaves are not available, add a teaspoon of baking soda to give the Waakye its distinct colour. Remember to remove the sorghum leaves from the beans after 5 minutes.
Now, it’s time to wash the rice and add it to the beans in the pot. Be sure to add a little more water to accommodate the rice.
Allow the mixture to cook for 15–20 minutes. By this time, the rice should be done. You may now add your preferred seasoning. Keep stirring the mixture while cooking to prevent it from burning, and allow the water to drain enough.
Voilà! Your Waakye is ready to be savoured.
Waakye is usually served for breakfast or lunch with a typical Ghanaian spicy pepper sauce. Like Jollof Rice, it can be a standalone meal itself or it can be eaten with some spaghetti, boiled eggs and with fish, chicken, beef, and vegetables. You can choose fish stew or Shito sauce? to go with your Waakye.
(recipe courtesy; Chef Debbie Ebube & afritraveller.com)