Dabo Kolo

The boys and I are members of a homeschooling co-operative group in the area.  I peel the baby off of my leg, then teach a baking class to the teens, and assist in an “American Political System” class.  The boys take World Geography, Physical Education, Hands-on Science, International Cooking and Exploring the World through Art.


They’re always excited to tell me what they’ve learned in their classes when we meet up again at the end of the day.  They’ve been especially proud of sharing their recipes with me from the international cooking class.  The teacher in there told me that Ty actually ate coconut, grapes and strawberries.  Oh heck yes!  I don’t care who gets my son to eat fruit.  I’ll take it.  Thank you Ms. Kathy!


This week, the boys brought me the recipe for what they made with Ms. Kathy along with a sample.  Dabo Kolo.  Have the rest of you tried this before?  Am I the only one who hadn’t eaten this Ethiopian specialty before today?  They’re crispy little fried bread snacks that have just enough spice to make them seriously addictive.  I glanced over the recipe and realized that not only was it delicious, but it was also incredibly easy.  We ran home to make a bigger batch.  Let’s be honest.  I’m good at sharing, but I wanted to eat a pile of Dabo Kolo by myself, so, comme d’habitude, we doubled the recipe. 


The boys set right to work showing me their impressive kitchen skills.  They scooped and levelled the flour, levelled the spoons of cayenne, salt and sugar and looked at the oil in the measuring cup at eye level.  They rolled out the dough and cut it themselves.


I hear someone out there saying “WHAT?  You let five boys ages 2-10 wield knives near each other?  What are you, nuts?”  Well, yes.  But they used butter knives and they didn’t -not even once- make an exploding sound, cross butter knives like swords, or yell ‘en guarde’.  The truth is that when you teach kids safety in the kitchen and you give them the responsibility (with proper supervision, duh!) they rise to it.  They were so proud to be creating food that they could share with me and as a result they took great care in the process. 


Care to hazard a guess as to how often they are all still enough to fit into that tight a space? 

Look at all those fuzzy heads.  I feel a noogie coming on…

Would you look at that?  I could hire these guys out…

Hands so fast they’re a blur…  They must be really hungry!

And this is the bowl of Dabo Kolo I siphoned away from the children just moments before I stuck my face in it and inhaled every last piece.


So what’s the skinny on these?  They’re incredibly, extremely addictive.  It occured to me as I ate a really huge amount of these that they would make a really nice finger food addition to buffets, tailgate parties, or gameday munchy spreads. In fact, as I type I’m trying to determine whether it would be indecent of me to whip up another batch of these.  There is a reason it is such a popular snack in Ethiopia.  I’d ten times rather eat a bowl of these than a bag of chips (and believe me that means something!) But leaving aside entirely the fact that I could eat five pounds of these in a sitting there is more to recommend them.  They’re really bloomin’ cheap AND fast to make.  Just please make them.  Really.  Now. 


Dabo Kolo

Ethiopian Little Fried Snacks


I’m giving you the single recipe but just double ’em already.  They store well at room temp in a tightly covered container.  Or so I’ve heard.  Not like they’d last long enough around here to test storage.


And yes.  These are a bit spicy.  If you can’t do the cayenne I’ll look away while you omit or reduce it.  If you like spice, feel free to add more cayenne to the mix.  My boys did.  And they’re ages 3-10.  I’m just sayin’…



  • 2 cups all purpose or wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil or melted butter
  • 1/2 cup water, more or less (You could need more or less depending on your flour and humidity)


Whisk together the flour, salt, sugar and cayenne pepper in a medium mixing bowl.  Add the oil or butter and stir together until evenly distributed.  Add water 1 Tablespoon at a time until you have a stiff dough that holds together well. 


Knead the dough until smooth, about 5 minutes. 


Preheat a griddle or heavy-bottomed frying pan over medium heat.


Divide dough into golf ball sized pieces and roll each piece into long rope-like pieces that are about a 1/2″ around.  Cut each dough rope into 1/2″ pieces.


Evenly space the dough pieces on the hot pan and turn occasionally -tongs make the job very easy- until lightly browned all over.


Allow the Dabo Kolo to cool completely, if you can, and store any you don’t eat at room temperature in an airtight container.


  1. ardie says

    Hi there,
    I found this recipe on tastespotting.com. sounds yuuuuummmy! I’m going to omit the cayenne, and try them without, then maybe toss them in a seasoning mix of some sort. They look a little naked 😉 That way too i can make different flavors.

    Thanks for the tips :)

  2. Kelly Nichols says

    Amazing. When Ben cut himself with a butterknife I told him a 4 year old would know better… turns out I was wrong- a 2 year old knows better! Maybe I could get him in the boys cooking class.

  3. Nazareth says

    Back in October 2012, i put farward to help organise the Black history month in my 4 yrs old daughter nursery pre-school and where i worked at that time. The deputy head said go a head, called it Ethiopian day. i was so exited to get the opportunity to share dabo-kolo with the children as i am Ethiopian by origin. All the chidren enjoyed making the dabo-kolo and most of all they eated them all. i was a bit worried because some eate a lot but every one was fine. At home i used pinutbutter insted of butter or oil with jum, strawburries and blueberries with honey for the kids its yammy. i have also use corriander instead but for me da-bo kolo with berebere is the number one.

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