Waakye Rice with Beronia Reserva
Waakye Rice with Beronia Reserva

Waakye Rice 

In the Caribbean they have rice and beans, while in Ghana we have waakye (pronounced ‘waa-che’) rice – an incredibly popular breakfast and brunch. You can see people hurrying to work in the bustle of a steamy Accra morning firmly gripping a polythene bag of waakye.

Serves 4-6, as a side.

225–250g (8–9oz) dried black-eyed beans, or 400g (14oz) can organic black-eyed beans or red kidney beans.

400g (14oz) medium- or long-grain brown rice

1 tablespoon coconut oil

1 onion, finely diced

3–4 dried millet or sorghum leaves, or 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

1 red rocket (Anaheim) chilli, or bird’s-eye chilli, thinly sliced

Sea salt

1 litre boiling water, or good-quality chicken or vegetable stock

TO GARNISH (OPTIONAL) 2 soft-boiled eggs, shelled and halved. Small bunch of chives, finely sliced. 1 green chilli, finely sliced.


To Prepare:

I used to soak the beans for 3–4 hours in the traditional way, but who has time for that?

1) You can just rinse the beans, place in a large saucepan, cover with water, bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for at least 1 hour or until the beans are tender enough to be squeezed easily between thumb and forefinger. Drain and set aside. Faster still, use a can of beans – just drain, rinse and drain again.

2) Wash the rice in several changes of cold water until the water runs clear – I wash it at least 3 times – then drain.

3) Heat a large, heavy-based saucepan. Add the oil and onion and sauté over a medium heat for about 3 minutes or until lightly golden. Meanwhile, wash the dried millet or sorghum leaves, if using – swiftly because the colour will start to run as soon as they get wet – and cut them into 7.5–10cm (3–4-inch) pieces.

4) Add the rice, beans, leaves, chilli and salt to the onions, tossing slightly. Stir in the measured water or stock (and the bicarbonate of soda, if using). Simmer, covered, for 15 minutes.

5)Turn off the heat. Leave to stand, covered, for 15 minutes until the water has been absorbed and the rice is tender. Garnish with the soft-boiled eggs, chives and green chilli.


As published in 'Zoe's Ghana Kitchen' by Octopus Publishing - Octopus | The home of non-fiction publishing (octopusbooks.co.uk)