kibbles and wat

injera at the ready

Supper club was at our house this time, and we just had to do Ethiopian cuisine. We’ve been working on our injera recipe for a while, and wanted to show off. Of course, this meant that when we had guests over the previous week for a trial run, the injera failed miserably, sticking to the pan and coming out in half-raw, half-burnt shreds, but I guess you need a bad dress rehearsal for everything. On the day, it worked perfectly. I made a quadruple batch and all but two breads came out just right: sour, stretchy and full of bubbles.


The rest of the supper club membership came through with their usual magnificence. Here’s what our dinner plates looked like: injera piled with doro wat (chicken and egg stew), shiro (chickpea flour dip), lentil wat, cabbage-carrot curry, spicy mango cucumber salad, tomato-plum stew, ayib (spiced curds) and azifa (lentil salad). For afters there was a banana-mango-coriander frozen yogurt with chocolate chips, and date sambusas.

dabo kolo

Before all that, we had cocktails and appetizers. Jenise made a gorgeous tower of kitfo (raw beef with spices) layered with goat cheese and served with sliced jalapeños – it was spicy and delicious. Jon invented a drink for the occasion, a lemon-honey-bourbon concoction with a splash of his homemade cardamom tincture. And I tried something new, a traditional Ethiopian snack food called dabo kolo. Something like a pretzel or small, spicy cracker, it unfortunately looks exactly like a particular brand of tartar-control cat kibble that we get from our vet. Fortunately it doesn’t taste like it. It has butter, sugar, salt and berbere powder, but just enough of each to make you want another bite. They are rather addictive.

cutting dabo kolo

Dabo Kolo

Adapted from A Bread a Day and The World of Street Food by Troth Wells

  •  2 cups flour (white, wheat, teff or chickpea flour are all acceptable – I’ve only tried it with white so far)
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 Tbsp berbere powder (the recipe we use is here)
  • 4 Tbsp melted butter or oil
  • 1/2 cup water

Preheat the oven to 350°.

Mix the dry ingredients together, then add the butter and water. Knead until smooth; the dough will be very stiff. Cover it with plastic and let it rest ten minutes or so.

Cut the dough into golf-ball-sized pieces, and roll each one out into a long rope, about 1/4″ thick. Using a knife or dough cutter, cut the rope into even 1/4″ pieces. Scatter these onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake about 25-30 minutes, until crunchy but not dark. Let cool completely.

Wells suggests serving with melted butter, like popcorn. I like them dry, but maybe with a bit more salt than this recipe calls for. These will keep in an airtight jar for at least a week, maybe longer (but they seem to disappear pretty fast).

dabo kolo


2 thoughts on “kibbles and wat

  1. The cocktail is essentially a Gold Rush, with the additiion of the cardamom tincture. I’ve debated whether to give it its own name, since it is so similar to the Gold Rush, but I think the tincture really does change it. So it’ll be called the Alula cocktail, after an Ethiopian friend of mine in grad school.

    1. 2 oz. bourbon or rye
      3/4 oz. lemon juice
      1 oz. honey syrup (2 parts honey dissolved in 1 part water)
      2 dashes cardamom tincture

      Shake with ice. When shaken vigorously, the viscosity of the honey causes the drink to form a head of foam. We like this feature for this drink. If you don’t want foam, stir rather than shaking.

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