Dabo Kolo (Ethiopian Fried Snacks)

This time around is when people start planning for domestic or overseas trips. There are so many places I’m dying to visit  in order to experience different cultures, coutures and cuisines around the world. However,  lacking  time and $$$, my wishes often stay on paper, hoping they will materialise one day. Perhaps during my retirement or a crazy decision to embark on an Eat, Pray, Love journey when facing mid-life crisis. :P

Until the day arrives, I’m sticking to books and television to see the world.

As I was scouting for books in the library, I have uncovered a hidden gem amongst  the sea of cookery books – The World of Street Food by Troth Wells.  I must say it is not common to find a cookery book  that based solely on street food  from various countries. Being a huge fan of street food, I was thrilled with my accidental find. After all, I  am a Penangite (coloquial term for a person from Penang, Malaysia) who grew up  savouring almost all street food available in my hometown. (FYI – Penang is known to be street food haven in Malaysia).

I can’t wait to cook some of the recipes from the book. One of the easier ones is this Ethiopian snacks called Dabo Kolo. Sounds exotic alright. “Dabo means bread, and kolo is the word for roasted barley, which is eaten as a snack, like popcorn. Dabo kolo are popular in Ethiopia, eaten between meals, with drinks, and are available from street vendors and smalls shops….” (extracted from The World of Street Food by Troth Wells)

When you go through the recipe below, you’ll find all the ingredients are just a pantry away. :)

Dabo Kolo (Ethiopian Fried Snacks)

(adapted from The World of Street Food)

Makes 20 -24 – as suggested in the book but I ended up with 12 sticks


1 cup / 100g flour

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tbsp sugar

1/4 – 1/2 tsp berbere paste (Ethiopian spice paste) or cayenne pepper

2 tbps oil

Water (I’ve used about 1/4 cup)

A little melted butter / margarine (optional as per recipe which I’ve left it out completely)


1. Mix all the ingredients together, gradually adding a little water to form a stiff dough. Then knead for 5 minutes or so.

2. Shape the snacks (see methods below).

3. Put the snacks on a preheated skillet/griddle or into a frying pan, with no oil, leaving a little space between them.

4. Cook over heat, turning occassionally, until golden brown. Leave to cool slightly.

5. Serve plain or with melted margarine or butter pour over if liked. My personal choice is a very good extra virgin olive oil to replace butter/margarine; Contrary to what the book suggested, I serve the EVOO on the side.

To shape the snacks:

Based on The World of Street Food (end up with a flatter and more quantity of sticks) :-

1. Take up pieces of the dough (roughly the size of a walnut) and press each one out on a lightly floured surface. Using the palm of your hand, make a long strip about 1/2 inch (1 cm) thick.

2. Cut the strip into 1/2 inch  (0.5 cm) pieces. Repeat with the other dough strips.

As I didn’t read the instructions carefully, this is how I made mine (end up with fatter and less sticks):-

1. Pull a small piece of dough.

2. Roll the pulled portion into a sausage (about 0.5 cm in diameter).


3. Using a kitchen scissor, cup the “sausage” into 4 inches (8cm) long (the length is up to you).



21 Responses to Dabo Kolo (Ethiopian Fried Snacks)
  1. Adelina
    November 11, 2010 | 5:51 pm

    I love it!!! Thanks so much for sharing the recipe. Never heard of this before but I love the list of ingredients and the simplicity.

    • Emily
      November 21, 2010 | 2:40 am

      Thanks Adelina. The simplicity of the recipe is what caught my eye and it wasn’t too hard to make either. :)

  2. Island Vittles
    November 11, 2010 | 8:21 pm

    I too am a huge fan of street food from all over the world…it always makes the best eating! I`m going to try to find the cookbook — sounds like it`s right up my alley. Thanks! theresa

    • Emily
      November 21, 2010 | 2:43 am

      Hi Theresa, I’ve just read your blog and we do have something in common – the love for street food but nothing too adventurous either. Hopefully you’ll find the book, it’s worthy recipe book. :D

  3. meemsnyc
    November 12, 2010 | 5:01 am

    Oooh, this looks so yummy.

    • Emily
      November 21, 2010 | 2:44 am

      Thanks for your comment. They are yummy, you gotta try it for yourself. :)

  4. Roxan
    November 12, 2010 | 5:29 pm

    Oh, how fun, a cookbook on street food around the world! I’ve been buying a lot of regional and ethnic cookbooks lately. I’ve found that those work best for me as I’m usually in the mood for something from a specific country. These little snacks looks crunchedly (is that even a word?) delicious!

    • Emily
      November 21, 2010 | 2:46 am

      Hi Roxan,
      They are like bread sticks, but better! Yeah, reading cookbooks on street food around the world is my frugal way to travel, hehehe!

  5. Ramberg Media Group - The News Platform
    November 12, 2010 | 11:29 pm

    How you can shape up your summer snacking…

    We liked your article, so we (RambergMediaGroup) would be interested in hearing from you, our readers like it….

  6. Sharon
    November 13, 2010 | 10:54 pm

    Wonderful! We live in a motor home but these look easy to do in a limited space.

    Now my problem is that I’m going to have to get this cookbook. I must stop this obsession of mine.

    Thank you for sharing!

    • Emily
      November 21, 2010 | 2:52 am

      Thanks for liking the recipe, Sharon.
      I share the same obsession too and my attempt to stop was futile especially when I see sale signs in front of bookstores.

  7. Amanda@EasyPeasyOrganic
    November 15, 2010 | 1:03 am

    Love your site – the concept is great! And I found you via your lovely photos on Tastespotting :)

    But aside from that – would you belive I just picked up the same book at a thrift store the other week?? I can’t wait to get cooking out of it … this recipe makes me wonder why I haven’t yet!

    • Emily
      November 16, 2010 | 2:08 am

      Hi Amanda,

      Seriously? You’re one lucky gal to have own it. Too bad mine is a loan from the library.

      There are so many recipes I want to cook from it. Can’t wait to see what you’ll be making! :D

  8. Claudia
    November 15, 2010 | 4:37 pm

    I’m totally trying these…and definitely looking for that book at the library! :) I love street food! It’s pretty much the best and most authentic food you’ll eat in another country! :D Thanks for the recipe!

    • Emily
      November 21, 2010 | 2:55 am

      I couldn’t agree with you more, Claudia. Whenever I have restaurants’ take on street food, it’s never as good (but thumbs up for the ambience, though) and twice or even triple the prices. I’m glad that you liked the recipe. :)

  9. Vanille
    November 15, 2010 | 9:04 pm

    These Ethiopian snacks sound so exotic, yet simple to make. A good idea !

    • Emily
      November 21, 2010 | 2:56 am

      Thanks Vanille. This recipe is too easy not to try. :P

  10. Brian H.
    November 19, 2010 | 8:44 pm

    Doesn’t look too difficult to make. Just met a couple from Ethiopia that we’d like to have over some time. This might be on the menu that night.

    : )

    • Emily
      November 21, 2010 | 2:57 am

      Hi Brian,

      I read that the authentic way is to serve with melted butter but my personal preference is olive oil. I hope they’ll enjoy the snack :)

  11. [...] este inspiraţie de la Emily, care la rândul ei s-a inspirat din cartea “The World of Street Food”. Foarte uşor de [...]

  12. Eunice
    December 19, 2010 | 2:43 pm

    I am gonna make this tomorrow! You inspired me! *GRIN*

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