Waakye rice – a simple guide

Waakye rice – a simple guide

Waakye rice is a well-known West- African dish that is also enjoyed as Caribbean cuisine.

Pronounced “waa – che” this is a Ghanaian rice dish that is just as popular for its reddish brown hue. The traditional version of the dish is made with black-eyed peas or cow peas.

Commonly eaten for breakfast or lunch, waakye (the Hausa word for “beans”) is a contracted form of the full name “shinkofa da wake,” which means rice and beans. It is also known in Benin and Nigeria and is commonly sold by roadside vendors.

The Caribbean version is made with peas, thyme, scotch bonnet peppers, onions and coconut milk. The Atlantic slave trade not only saw enslaved people being taken away from their land of birth, but it also took their customs and traditions from them. This dehumanising crime against humanity stripped people away from their native lands but some of them took their customs with them. Today we see an African diaspora that is spread across the world and we also see traditionally African cuisine that can be found globally.

What are its main ingredients?

Beans and rice, which are boiled in dried millet leaves.

Boiled and dried red sorghum leaves are used to boil waakye rice, along with kanwa, an additive which is a naturally-occurring sodium-based salt. It is typically known as potash in English, while bicarbonate of soda helps to achieve its reddish colour.

Soak the beans and cook them before cooking the rice with the waakye leaves and its water.

Waakye is traditionally served in a banana loaf with weley (cow skin) stew, boiled eggs, shito and taalial (spaghetti).

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