Savory Ghanaian Delight: A Waakye Recipe

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Waakye (pronounced wha-kii) is a vibrant and flavorful Ethiopian dish traditionally enjoyed for breakfast. This one-pot meal combines fragrant spices with simmered lentils, vegetables, and sometimes hard-boiled eggs, creating a hearty and satisfying start to the day.

While there are regional variations, the core ingredients of waakye remain consistent. Let’s delve into what you’ll need to create this delicious dish at home.

Fast & Easy Ghanaian Waakye
Fast & Easy Ghanaian Waakye


2 cups brown lentils, rinsed

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ginger paste
  • 1 teaspoon berbere spice mix
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 bunch scallions, chopped (white and green parts)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Optional Ingredients:

    4 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and quartered

  • 1 tablespoon clarified butter
  • Directions:

    1. Heat the oil: In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat.

    2. Sauté the aromatics: Add the chopped onion and cook until softened and translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the minced garlic and ginger paste, and cook for an additional minute until fragrant.

    3. Introduce the spices: Add the berbere spice mix, turmeric powder, cardamom, and cloves. Cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly to release the aromas of the spices.

    4. Incorporate the tomatoes: Pour in the diced tomatoes with their juices. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld.

    5. Add the lentils and water: Rinse the brown lentils again and add them to the pot along with the water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 25-30 minutes, or until the lentils are tender but still retain a slight bite.

    6. Season and adjust consistency: Season the waakye with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. If the mixture seems too thick, add a splash of water to achieve a desired consistency.

    7. Finishing touches: Stir in the chopped scallions and cilantro. Taste one last time and adjust seasonings if necessary.

    8. Serve: Divide the waakye among serving plates. Top with quartered hard-boiled eggs (optional) and a drizzle of clarified butter for extra richness (optional). Enjoy warm with a side of injera bread.

    Nutrition Facts (Per Serving):

    This recipe yields approximately 4 servings. Here’s a general breakdown of the nutritional value per serving:

    Calories: 400-500 (depending on the added ingredients)

  • Protein: 20-25 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 50-60 grams
  • Fat: 10-15 grams
  • Fiber: 10-15 grams
  • Please note: These are approximate values and may vary depending on the specific ingredients you use and their brands.


    Waakye is a versatile dish that can be enjoyed for breakfast, lunch, or even dinner. The combination of protein-rich lentils, flavorful spices, and fresh vegetables makes it a well-balanced and satisfying meal. It’s also a great way to incorporate plant-based protein into your diet. So next time you’re looking for a new breakfast option, give waakye a try!

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

    1. Can I substitute brown lentils with another type of lentil?

    Yes, you can use green lentils instead of brown lentils. However, green lentils cook faster, so adjust the cooking time accordingly (around 20 minutes). You might also find the texture to be slightly softer compared to brown lentils.

    2. What is berbere spice mix?

    Berbere is a vibrant red spice blend originating in Ethiopia. It typically contains chilies, paprika, garlic, ginger, fenugreek, and other spices. You can find pre-made berbere spice mix at specialty grocery stores or online retailers.

    3. What can I serve with waakye?

    Injera, a spongy Ethiopian flatbread made from teff flour, is the traditional accompaniment to waakye. You can also enjoy it with rice, toasted pita bread, or even a side salad.

    4. Can I make waakye ahead of time?