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. 😛

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).


Meatless Recipes, Party Ideas. permalink.

21 thoughts on “Dabo Kolo (Ethiopian Fried Snacks)

  1. 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

    • 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. 😀

  2. 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!

    • 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!

  3. 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!

    • 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.

  4. 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!

    • 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! 😀

  5. 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! 😀 Thanks for the recipe!

    • 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. 🙂

    • 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 🙂

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