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Ghanaian cuisine has a wide variety of long established dishes, such as the popular Waakye (pronounced waachay), a dish of cooked rice and beans combination, which is both mouth watering and wholesome. With a fascinating historical heritage, rich cultural diversity, extraordinary scenic beauty, and friendly people, Ghana is a charming blend of old and new.
This delicious dish is notably similar to the West Indian version, 'rice and peas'. Cooked using many of the same methods minus additional spices and herbs in the West Indian version. The rice is cooked with an indigenous leaf and black eyed or kidney beans.
Waakye And Fried Plantains
It is commonly prepared in the home, but is also sold by roadside vendors. It is a very popular dish in Ghana. Waakye is mostly eaten for breakfast, lunch or supper. A typical waakye meal usually consists of the cooked rice and beans, stew, some spaghetti (spaghetti is not part of any authentic Ghanaian dish) and moist gari (both of which are sometimes mixed with oil from the stew), boiled eggs, stewed meat or stewed/fried fish, stewed wele (cooked-down cowhide) and vegetable salad (which may include cabbage, onions and tomatoes).
It may also be eaten with Kelewele (fried plantain).
Waakye is thought to have originated from the northern parts of Ghana, but gained national status many decades ago, and is loved by grownups and children alike. It is also eaten in Nigeria, Togo, and Benin, where it is prepared in slightly different ways.
Waakye is usually served for breakfast or lunch with a typical Ghanaian spicy pepper sauce. It can be a meal in itself or it can be eaten with boiled eggs and/or with a stew of fish, chicken, beef, or vegetables. The dish requires about 15 minutes of preparation and an hour and a half of cooking time.
2 cups rice
1 cup red beans or black-eyed peas, or any kind of beans or peas
4 dry sorghum leaves (or 1 teaspoon of baking soda)
Salt to taste
10 cups water
Wash and soak the beans in water for 3–4 hours. Drain the beans and place them in a large pot of water. Bring the mixture to a boil and let it cook for about 45 minutes. Wash the sorghum leaves.
Cut the leaves 3 to 4 inches, toss them in with the boiling beans, and allow them to cook together. If sorghum leaves are not available, add a teaspoon of baking soda to give the Waakye its characteristic color.
Remove the sorghum leaves from the beans after 5 minutes. Wash the rice and add to the beans in the pot, along with more water. Allow the mixture to cook for 15–20 minutes (or until the beans are tender and the rice is cooked and all liquid has been totally absorbed).
Be sure that the mixture does not burn and keep stirring while it cooks. Season with salt. Serve the dish with pepper sauce and boiled egg and/or a stew of fish, chicken, beef, or vegetables. Serves 4
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