Waakye - pronounced ‘Waa-chey’

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Written by:Zoe on: February 18, 2015

Waakye – pronounced ‘Waa-che’

This is a really simple Ghanaian staple of Rice and Beans. Millet leaves or Waakye leaves give the red colouring to the rice. You can find these on Ridley Road market in Dalston – watch out for ‘The Vintage Grocery Store’ – auntie Rachel always has a plentiful stock. Tinned beans are good for small quantities and fast cooking but I prefer to use dried beans (these require soaking for 24 hours before use).



Serves 4

1 tbsp sunflower oil

1 small cooking onion, diced

1-2 habanero peppers sliced diagonally (just use one if you don’t like your food too hot!)

400g easy cook long grain rice (thoroughly washed to remove starch)

1 x 400g tinned (unsalted) black-eye beans, drained and rinsed thoroughly

salt to season

4 x stalks of Millet leaves chopped in half

1/2 ltr boiling water (approx)



  1. Heat a heavy-based pan, add the oil and fry the onion until lightly golden then add the habanero peppers.
  2. Add the rice and stir well so the grains are evenly coated in heat and oil – this allows the grain to open a little
  3. Add the beans, millet leaves and salt and stir through
  4. Add the boiling water, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Check that the rice is fluffy – if you find it’s not quite ready – add a little more water and stir through – cover with foil – turn off the heat and leave to stand for a further 10 minutes, until all the water is absorbed and the rice soft.

Serve with any meat-based stew or for veggies with Red Red. A nice extra is a soft boiled egg with Kpakpo shito or Scotch bonnet salsa.


Millet or Waakye leaves

Millet or Waakye leaves


Waakye and kelewele

Waakye and kelewele