Waakye Recipe

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Waakye (pronounced “wah-chay” is a national favorite dish in Ghana. A truly remarkable way to prepare rice and beans, you will find waakye sold in restaurants, as street food in the marketplaces, and also made at home. Waakye is traditionally served with any combination of fried chicken, noodles, cole slaw, or fried fish as side accompaniments.


(Photo Attributed to Author: Hiroo Yamagata)

NOTE: This waakye recipe calls for dried black-eyed peas that are soaked overnight. If you want a “short-cut” to having tender peas to work with, cover them in a large pot with fresh cold water. Pour in enough depth to cover them by about 2″. Bring the water to a vigorous boil, and cook 2 to 3 minutes. Turn burner off. Allow the beans soak 1 full hour. Drain them in a colander or large sieve, and then you are ready to start preparing your waakye.

Waakye Recipe-

For the Rice and Beans-
  • 1 cup dried black-eyed peas, sorted, rinsed, and soaked overnight
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4″ to 5″ piece of kombu (special dried seaweed, a must have ingredient for authentic Ghanaian flavor)
  • 3 cups cooked brown rice
  • salt, to taste
  • freshly ground black peppercorns, to taste
For the Sauce-
  • 1 tbsp. canola oil
  • 1-1/2 tbsp. whole wheat flour
  • 1 large yellow onion, peeled and chopped fine
  • 1 cup tomato paste
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
For the Rice and Beans-
  1. If using the overnight soaking method for your beans, discard soaking water, rinse them well again with fresh water. Using a suitably sized cooking pot, place the beans in and cover them with more fresh, cold water to a depth of 2″ to 3″ above the beans.
  2. Add in the kombu and bay leaf; bring to a vigorous, rolling boil, then reduce heat to just a lively simmer. Cook the peas at a simmer, with the pot lid slightly ajar until fully tenderized – about 1 hour should do it.
  3. Add more water during the cooking if necessary. but the water should be almost all evaporated by the end of the cooking time.
  4. Remove and discard the bay leaf and kombu. Add and stir in the cooked rice, salt and pepper when the black-eyed peas have finished cooking.
For the Sauce-
  1. Heat the oil in skillet over medium-low heat. Add in the flour and mix, stirring, to make a roux. Keep cooking, stirring constantly, for about 2 minutes or until the roux is slightly browned.
  2. Add and stir in the onion; cook, stirring until browned.
  3. Add and stir in the nutmeg and tomato paste.
  4. Add just enough water to achieve the desired consistency – you want a fairly thick sauce texture.

To serve your waakye, spoon the sauce over the rice and beans, or you can mix the sauce together with the rice and beans. Traditional and good tasting sides are fried chicken and/or fried fish, noodles, and cole slaw.

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