In Northern Nigeria, there is a local delicacy called “Masa” or “Waina”. It is a widely accepted delicacy, eaten by people of different classes, regardless of age and sex. It is a tasteful meal and many successful mothers and housewives have since endosred it as special family recipe.
This local dish is consumed differently, sometimes as an appetizer, sometimes as a snack and sometimes on its own right as the main meal, in which case there would be no further meal after it has eaten. It is very common, especially in Kaduna metropolis, to encounter individuals and families eat this meal as breakfast.They gathered around the table or on a common mat to relish these soft caked cereal.
Often, children are dispatched across the road to buy Waina. A small cycle of buyers is woven around the women who prepares the Waina. But that is not always the case. Many housewives too have seen perferted the sophistry of preparing Waina and that has helped them swayed their husbands hearts on many occasions.
Historically traced to local festivals in some communities in Bauchi State, Waina is popular with ceremonies and festive periods, where it is served by the celebrants to their guests or where it is the main course that is shared in honour of the particular ceremonies.The partying is never complete or original enough without a taste of Waina in this part of the world!” says Aisha Abudullahi, a female stylist in Kaduna metropolis.
Its major ingredient is local rice. And just like the famous ‘Tuwo shinkafa’ which is virtually on all dining tables and in all Hausa eating joints, this rice based food is one of leading variety of cereal-based foods among the Hausa people.
Zainab Shuaibu is a 200 level Mass Communication student at Kaduna State University, Kaduna. She grew up under the tutuledge of a mother who bakes Waina and sells to the public Through the income from the business, her mother has been paying her school fees, she stated
Zainab, who lost his father years ago, led us into the basics of processing these cereals to become Waina.
According to her, “My mother has been doing this business for 20 years. As I grew up, I got to know and master the making of Waina, myself.
“The first thing is to soak your rice, preferably our local rice, for three to five hours, after you had picked out the stones. After soaking, you wash and drain it and take your time to ensure it is sand free. This is very important to avoid sending your customers away”
“You ll add onions. Just onions at this stage and then take it out for grinding. After grinding, you will add yoghurt and blend together thoroughly and then allow it till next day. That is, if you are starting the process at night.
“But, if you want to make it in the evening, you start the process in the morning. When you are about putting it on locally made oven or frying pan as some call it, you will add either salt or sugar depending on what your customers want and then baking powder.
“Then, you will put oil in the oven and start baking or frying it and within a few minutes, your tasty Waina is ready. It best enjoyed when served hot.
“Talking about the soup, you need spinach, a little groundnut for thickness and your usual tomatoes, pepper and onions. You can then add fish, meat or ponmo depending on what your want: she stated.
“It supposed to be N50 per one oval shape but, if you are buying from N100, then you have three as against two. I think what attracts more customers from as far as Refinery GRA, Romi, Malali, Sabo among others is my mother’s honesty and cleanliness And experience too.
“She uses pure rice, unlike some people that do add maize. She has been baking Waina for about 20 years now. Above all, she is neat and has good human relations skill. Some of the customers say they enjoy her soup. She was doing it at Tudun Wada before we relocated to Barnawa.
“I have to come around when I don’t have much academic work to do to help her because of influx of customers. If you had come on week days, you would have waited for like one hour before it will reach your turn because people are always many: she stated.
Giving the nutritional value of Waina, a nutritionist, Mrs, Hajara Yahya said it is a good diet.
She said that, ‘’Rice belongs to cereal class with high amount of carbohydrates. What is implied here is that Waina is a high calory food because of the vegetable oil used in its preparation.
“Rice also contains some small quantities of B vitamins and protein needed for growth in children and maintenance in adults. The preparation method doesn’t really allow lost of nutrients because after grinding to paste, it is then fried, not directly in burning oil but in pan.
“The soup which is made from groundnut and spinach is a rich source of protein and fat. Groundnut is a high source of protein and its oil also contains essential vitamins.
“Now, the spinach is like herb that contains vitamins and minerals like Vitamin C and iron which are essential for body growth and maintenance,” she added.
It is for this reason that the meal is hotly sought after. The good thing is that one does not really have to travel to Bauchi to have a taste of IT. It is found in many corners of the state. And it is enjoyed not only by the members of the Hausa ethnic group, but by Nigerians of other ribal extraction. It is also cost friendly, one of the reason it is the best friend of the ordinary man.
Moses John always hangs around the Mai-waina joint at Barnawa in the state capital. Moses enjoys this delicacy like no other meal and eats it on a daily basis. He told Daily Sun that, ““I stay in Barnawa here… not close to this place anyway. I have to drive down here virtually on a daily basis to enjoy Waina. It’s not about the money because the fuel I burn in coming and going is far above the cost if the meal.
“I love eating Waina because is like eating rice but in another form. Waina is one food that when you eat it, it takes a longer time for hunger to show up again. That is why we are always here to chill with Waina,” he said.
Another fan of Waina, Mr. Femi Adeoti, a Yoruba man from Ekiti State said Rhhar after his amala, he next favourite meal is Waina
According to him, “I used to bring my family once in a while to enjoy this local delicacy here in Barnawa. I came from NAFDAC Narayi side to this First Bank area just for Waina.
“The unique thing about my mums Waina is in the soup. The soup tastes differently. Some of them have sour soup and are sometimes made of rotten tomatoes” said her.
So, whenever you travel down to the North, or hear about the delicious waina joint, you may give it a trial and who knows, you might be discovering and adding something new to your menu.