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Waakye is a supremely popular morning meal in Ghana but can be eaten throughout the day. Filling and flavourful, it combines beans, rice, moist gari (ground cassava), stew and spaghetti (the only non-Ghanaian part of the dish).

This is one of the most cherished ghana dish in most households in Ghana. As the name suggests, the main ingredients in this dish are rice and beans which are both boiled in water with millet leaves till they become soft. The delicacy is named after the millet leaves which are locally referred to as waakye.

It is normally accompanied by yellowish granulated cassava, tomato sauce, and a hot black pepper sauce referred to as ‘shito’. Waakye is eaten with mostly cow meat and eggs, but others also add chicken or guinea fowl. In this post, I share a recipe for quick and easy Waakye.

What Is Waakye?

It is a Ghanaian rice and beans dish, which pronounced as “wa-chee” , it is one of the most popular street food in the country.

It is sold by street side vendors, wrapped in banana leaves and served with multiple of the the following sides; lamb stew, spaghetti (talia), avocado, shito (fish sauce), kelewele (fried plantain), fried fish, garri fotor, vegetable salad, egg, meat or fish.

Waakye makes the perfect “fully loaded plate” of food. It can be a complete meal because of the different accompaniments. It is also popular in other West African countries, but just called different names. On the streets of Lagos in Nigeria, it is called “wanke”, while the Togolese call it “ayimolou”.

How To Prepare Waakye

This dish is easy, quick, and it tastes delicious. If this is your first time making it , trust me you would love it. It is nice and look wonderful.

Here is what you will need;

  • Waakye Leaves: This leaf sheath of West African sorghum bicolor variety is the star of the this recipe. It gives Ghanaian wakye its distinctive reddish-brown colour; it is known as “poporo oka” baba in Yoruba language, and “adako” in Togo. The leaves basically acts as food colorant in this dish, with the rice and beans taking on its leached colour. It is also rich in antixoidants and some essential nutrients. The quantity of waakye leaves used determines how deep the colour of the dish is.
  • Beans: Black eye bean is traditionally used for waakye recipe and the colour change after cooking from white to deep red is dramatic. However, you can use any beans which is available.
  • Rice: Ghanaians use jasmine rice traditionally, but you can also use any non-stick rice as long as you know the cooking time so it doesn’t turn to mush from overcooking. The ratio of rice to beans depends on personal preference. I prefer to 2:1, while others prefer 1:1. Think about whether you want more beans or rice in the dish and decide your preferred ratio.
  • Baking soda: I did not use this ingredient, but a lot of waakye recipe call for baking soda or kaun as an optional ingredient. Kaun, also called kanwa and akaun in West Africa is lake salt and a form of sodium bicarbonate used in cooking. It is used interchangeably with baking soda (also sodium bicarbonate) as a tenderizer in this Ghana rice and beans recipe. It helps the beans to soften more quickly, reducing the cooking time.

What Does Baking Soda Do To Waakye?

It adds a lot of nutrients, Baking Soda/Salt Petre (Potassium Nitrate): Baking soda or Salt Petre is essential in this recipe. It makes the beans cook faster and softer. It also darkens the rice.

What To Eat With Waakye

Waakye is commonly eaten for breakfast or lunch. It is usually served with a choice of protein, so you can choose from;

Thank you very much for your time. Below is an easy to follow recipe. Enjoy! Let’s get cooking!



Waakye is a Ghanaian dish of cooked rice and beans, commonly eaten for breakfast or lunch. The rice and beans, usually black eyed peas, are cooked together to give that a trip to Africa cuisine taste.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Ghanaian
Calories 390 kcal


  • 2 cup black eyed beans
  • 2-4 dried millet stalk leaves
  • 4 cup jasmine rice
  • 3 tbsp oil
  • salt to taste


  • Pick stones and grits from the beans.
  • Wash the beans and add into the pressure cooker.
  • Wash the waakye leaves and also add into the pressure cookers. Pour in water up to the minimum level on the pot.
  • Close the valve of the pressure cooker and leave until it reaches full pressure. This should take no more than 15 mins.
  • One it reaches full pressure, reduce the heat and leave for additional 10 mins for the beans to cook.
  • Remove from heat and allow to cool down naturally to depressurize. This should take around 20 mins.
  • Once the pot is adequately cooled. Unlock the lid.
  • Pour the beans with the cooking liquid and the waakye leaves into another pot. Wash the rice and pour into the pot too.
  • Add more water if needed so there is enough to cook the rice. Add some salt and cover the pot.
  • Allow the rice to cook. The time for this depends on the type of rice used. Check pack instructions if you are not sure.
  • Remove the waakye leaves and serve with your favorite side.



Calories: 390kcal
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