Ghanaian Waakye

Ghanaian Waakye

Waakye is very popular all over Ghana. The name derives from waakye leaves that are typically used to turn the color of the dish to reddish-brown. Baking soda has the same effect. Try this basic dish with sides of your choice and grains of paradise to your taste. These peppercorns are native to West Africa, mainly from Ghana, and a mild but pungent alternative to black pepper.
Hands-on Time 30 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Ghanaian
Servings 3


Shopping list

  • 1 can Kidney beans rinsed
  • 1.5 cups long grain rice washed

You might have

  • 1 onion peeled and roughly cut
  • 2 cloves garlic peeled and roughly cut
  • 1 inch ginger peeled and roughly cut
  • baking soda
  • oil
  • salt & pepper

Waakye Culinary Spice Kit

  • Pouch [1] Smoked paprika, thyme, bay leaves
  • Pouch [2] Grains of paradise


  • In a FOOD PROCESSOR, blend onion, garlic, and ginger with 1/2 cup of water until smooth.
  • In a large POT, heat 2 tbsp of oil over medium heat.
  • Careful of splatters, add beans, Waakye [1] spices, 1 tsp baking soda, and the liquid from the FOOD PROCESSOR.
  • Cook for 5 minutes over medium-low heat.
  • Stir in the rice and 2.5 cups of water. Add salt to taste. Mix well, cover, and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to low. Cook for 15-20 minutes until the rice is cooked.
  • Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
  • On the plated dish, sprinkle Waakye [2] spices to taste from a grinder or the whole peppercorns.


  • Serve Waakye with fried plantains, boiled eggs, sour cabbage salad, grilled meat, and/or sausages (see notes).


▪ Substitute kidney beans with black-eyed peas.
Recipes for:
Chicken Waakye
optional side dishes