Rice and beans are a popular and inexpensive meal combo in many cultures. The Ghanaian variant of this combination is waakye.
This simple dish, which may be eaten at any time of day, is prepared with the sheath of a red sorghum leaf, known as “waakye leaves,” which gives it a burgundy (reddish-brown) color.
This Ghanaian rice and bean dish, called “wa-chee,” is one of the country’s most famous street foods.
Street sellers sell it wrapped in banana leaves and served with a variety of sides including lamb stew, spaghetti (talia), avocado, shito (chilli sauce), kelewele (fried plantain), fried fish, garri fotor, vegetable salad, egg, pork, or fish.
Here are a few things to note before we go straight to the recipe.
Beans: Black-eyed bean is commonly used in preparing waakye, and the color change from white to dark red while cooking. However, one can utilize any beans that is accessible.
Rice: Ghanaians use jasmine rice traditionally, but you can also use any non-stick rice that wouldn’t get soggy. Also, the ratio of rice to beans depends on personal preference.
Waakye Leaves: The centerpiece of this recipe is the leaf coating of the West African sorghum bicolor species.
It is responsible for the unique reddish-brown color of this delicacy. The leaf is also known as “poporo oka” baba in Yoruba and “adako” in Togo.
Also read: 10 Best African Street Food
The leaves essentially serve as a food colorant in this dish, with the rice and beans taking on the color of the leached leaves. It also contains antioxidants and vital minerals. The amount of leaves used dictates how dark you want your waakye to look.
Ingredients for waakye
- 2 cups rice
- 1 cup black eye beans
- 6-8 waakye leaves
- Salt to taste
- Start by picking stones and grits from the beans.
- Then proceed to wash the beans. After that, add a lot of water into a pot and add the washed beans.
- Wash the waakye leaves and add them to the pot as well.
- Close the pot and allow it to cook till soft.
- When soft a bit, add your washed rice and a pinch of salt to the pot.
- Add water if necessary.
- When cooked properly, remove the waakye leaves and serve with your favorite side (gari, avocado, shito, and a protein of your choice).
- Once it reaches full pressure, turn off the heat and let it for 10 minutes to allow the beans to cook.
- Remove from the heat and let aside to cool naturally to depressurize. This should only take about 20 minutes.
- Once the pot has cooled sufficiently. Remove the lid.
- Pour the beans, cooking liquid, and waakye leaves into a separate pot. Wash the rice and add it to the pot as well.