June 19th, 2006
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Categories: Food/Recipes

In Ethiopia, snacks are most commonly eaten as part of the Ethiopian coffee ceremony. Common offerings include roasted barley, peanuts, popcorn and a spicy crunchy little bread called Dabo Kolo.

In Ethiopia, dabo means bread, and kolo is the word for roasted barley– so together the words mean something like “snack bread”.

Dabo Kolo

2 cups wheat flour
2 tablespoons berbere
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup water
4 tablespoons butter, softened (room temperature)

Preheat oven to 350°F

1.) In a clean mixing bowl, combine and mix flour, berberé, sugar, and salt. Slowly add the water and mix to form a thick paste. Remove the mixture from the bowl and knead it on a lightly-floured surface for a few minutes to form a thick dough. Add the softened butter and knead for an additional five minutes. Let the dough rest in a cool place for ten minutes.


2.) Divide the dough into handful-size pieces and roll these into long “pencils” not quite as thick as your small finger. Cut these rolls into pieces (scissors can be used), each piece no longer than the width of your finger.

3.) Heat an ungreased skillet over a medium heat. Place enough of the uncooked dabo kolo in the skillet to loosely cover the bottom. (They may have to be cooked in batches.)

4.) Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until they are lightly browned on all sides, — OR — Arrange on a baking sheet. Bake in a hot oven for twenty to thirty minutes, stirring or shaking the pan a few times to prevent sticking.

5.) When done, remove from oven and allow to cool completely. Store in dry air-tight containers.

**A more traditional way of making Dabo Kolo is to mix the flour and warm water to form dough then cook the dough on a skillet or griddle, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until it forms itself into balls, then continuing to cook them until they are browned. While still hot they are seasoned with spices and butter, then after being allowed to cool they are stored.

**”Americanized” dabo kolo can be made by substituting ground cayenne pepper or red pepper for the berberé spice mix, though this would not suffice in Ethiopia. Vegetable oil can be used in place of the butter.

Nutrition information for this recipe can be found here. I am looking forward to trying it with my kids. I think they’ll especially enjoy rolling and shaping the dough.

2 Responses to “Ethiopian Snack: Dabo Kolo”

  1. Brian says:

    In case anyone stumbles upon this post, here’s my review of the recipe:

  2. Dabo Kolo says:

    [...] only African food I cook on a regular basis are Moroccan tagines, so its time I learned more.  One post in particular got me thinking about whether drawing the kid into cooking would be a good idea.  Seems like a [...]

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