Waina (Hausa rice cakes)

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Growing up in Kano, this time of the year was marked with a lot of family visits, delicious food, joy and laughter. l spent most Ramadan days with my cousins and though I didn’t fast, I joined them in breaking fast :-D. Dinner most nights was kunun tsamiya ( tamarind and millet pap) and kwasai (akara). When Sallah finally came it was a bevy of festivities. All sorts of meats, sweets, deserts and side dishes. Maybe that’s why l eat very small meals because back then there was so much we wanted to try, we couldn’t afford to eat too much of one meal. Strangely I still do that, eat to eat another day!

Anyway, one of the must haves during Sallah for my cousin and I was waina. Nice soft waina served with stew or mian taushe (Hausa spinach soup). It’s a very simple dish but not an easy one to make. I tried several versions until a cousin went into the heart of Kano and got this recipe from an old lady. So here we go!

Waina is made from fermented rice used for tuwo, it’s fried in a mud pot specially made for it. I used muffin pans and baked mine rather than fry which makes it healthier. I have been obsessed with learning how to make this childhood favourite of mine, one time I used my pocket money to buy a waina frying pot. Made with baked clay, it had 12 wholes in which you fry the waina. Did I forget to mention l didn’t ask my mum before buying it? She almost fainted when she came home and saw it. Guess I’ve been obsessed with cooking longer than I can remember :-).

Ingredients: (16 Waina cakes)

1 milk cup raw tuwon rice

1/2 milk cup boiled tuwon rice

4 tablespoons of sugar

1 level teaspoon of yeast

1 heaped spoon of baking powder

1/4 of a small onion

Cooking spray


Wash and soak 1 cup of tuwon rice for 3 hours or overnight if you wish. The idea is to soften the rice and make grinding easy.


Pound the rice in the mortar to break the rice grains a bit more. Grind it into a smooth paste.


Is it watery? no worries, the cooked rice will take care of that later.  Mix the 1 leveled teaspoon of yeast in water and add to the rice paste.


Mix the 4 tablespoons of sugar and the 1 teaspoon of baking powder together the add it to the paste.

Cover the paste with cling film and put it in the hottest part of the kitchen. I put mine in the oven.


Let it sit for 6 hours. It will look like this.


Put half the fermented rice mixture in a blender, add the 1/4 onion and cooked rice and blend together.



The cooked rice-instantly thickens the paste. Let the ingredients mix well by leaving it in the microwave for 45 mins.


Pre- heat oven. Grease a 12 hole muffin pan with 3 drops of oil or non-stick cooking spray.


Fill each muffin hole 3/4 full with rice paste.


Bake for 15-20 minutes or till an inserted toothpick comes out clean.


Serve hot with stew or mian taushe.


Happy holidays! 🙂


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  3. Manny says:

    Lovely hausa meal…

  4. Anonymous says:

    What temp is the over at?

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