Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Dabo Kolo


Dabo Kolo (Dabbo Kolo) are a crunchy, spicy snack, a sort of bread balls or crackers, that are popular in Ethiopia. They look something like peanuts, and they are served like peanuts: as a snack, between meals, with drinks, and available from street vendors and small shops. Traditionally, dabo kolo are favored by travelers because they keep for a long time without spoiling. Dabo Kolo are usually made from wheat flour, but can also be made from tef flour (which is more commonly used to make Ethiopia's famous spongy flatbread, injera) or even chickpea flour.

  • two cups wheat flour (all-purpose unbleached, or whole wheat work well)
  • two tablespoons berberé spice mix
  • one tablespoon sugar
  • one teaspoon salt
  • half cup water
  • four tablespoons softened (room temperature) butter
  • Preheat oven to 350° F. In a clean mixing bowl, combine and mix dry ingredients (flour, berberé, sugar, and salt).
  • Slowly add the water and mix so as 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.) Cook over medium heat, stirring periodically, 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.
  • 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 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.

In Ethiopia, dabo means bread, and kolo is the word for roasted barley, which is eaten as a snack (like popcorn). Together, to name a snack made like bread, the words are similar in meaning to "popcorn bread".

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