Wassa Wassa: The Republic of Benin’s Unique Couscous By Nourishing Africa

A dish found almost only in the Republic of Benin, wassa wassa is made of yam chips sometimes called yam couscous.  It is served with an oil mixture of deep-fried onions and powdered hot pepper or can be eaten as is. Meat or fish can be added as an accompaniment.

 

Cooking traditional wassa wassa is a labour of love, it takes about 5 hours and requires the cook’s utmost attention to keep the grains from clumping. However, recently precooked wassa wassa has been introduced to the market under the brand name of Wassa Wassa owned by Beninese company Fenou Foods. The cooking time is 20 times faster than the traditional method.

 

Yam, in various forms, accounts for more than 25% of household food intake in Benin. Most of this yam comes from small scale Beninese farmers. National yam production in Benin accounts for 6% of world production. Its consumption is made on the one hand from the fresh tubers and on the other hand from yam flour which allows more diverse dishes like wassa wassa.