By Soyoqour Quarcoo Tchire
Waake or Waakye or wish is a dish loved by many Ghanaians. This is evident due to the long queues one comes across at waakye joints. Waakye originated from northern Ghana, where rice and beans are staple food crops. The word waakye is from the Hausa language and means beans. It is the contracted form of the full name shinkafa da wake which means rice and beans. Waakye is commonly sold by roadside vendors. Surprisingly, waakye is just a simple side dish of rice cooked with dried sorghum stalk leaves and sometimes a bit of baking soda added to it. Let’s prepare some waakye on CHOPOLOGY.
Some describe this meal as Ghana’s secret superfood. To make waakye, you need dried sorghum leaves. This is what makes it waakye. Without it, it is just rice and beans. Don’t bother making it without the sorghum leaves, your efforts will not be appreciated. The leaves add flavour and give waakye its distinctive reddish-brown colour. The leaves are also rich in antioxidants, which in turn can be good for human health. The other ingredients are beans and rice of your choice. Clean the beans by picking the stones and grits from it. Wash the beans and the waakye leaves and put in a saucepan. Add enough water and put on fire. Let it boil till the beans become tender and the colour of the water changes into deep wine due to the sorghum leaves. To cut down on the gassy properties, add a wee bit of baking soda at this stage (this is optional) and a bit of water if needed.
The baking soda helps break down some of the beans’ natural gas-making sugars. Next, wash rice and add to the beans. Add salt to taste. Stir and cover tightly. When the rice boils over, reduce heat and simmer till the water is absorbed and the rice is cooked through. Rest for three to five minutes, remove the sorghum stalk leaves and fluff with a fork. Serve warm when tender and soft with various toppings including fried Fish, meat, Shito (black chilli sauce) and accompaniments like Spaghetti, salad, Avocado, coleslaw, fried Plantain, Boiled Eggs or Gari Fortor. Waakye makes the perfect “fully loaded plate” of food. It can be a complete meal because of the different accompaniments. Waakye is said to be the meanest street food alive, and Ghana’s favourite breakfast.
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