Dabo is the Amharic word for wheat bread, and in Ethiopian communities it takes a few forms: either baked as a tall round challah, or fried or toasted pieces of bread (dabo kolo) which is a popular snack eaten before meals or from a paper cone on the go.
Dabo bread has seen several iterations – the original version was primarily made with semolina and were sourdough, the modern recipes include white flour and yeast, and sometimes teff flour as well. The seasoning can also vary: the bread is usually sweetened with honey or silan [date honey] and then spiced using either ginger, turmeric, coriander seeds, fenugreek, fennel or whatever else is on hand. Traditionally in Ethiopia, the bread was wrapped in banana leaves and baked overnight in a pit of coals. Today most versions are baked in the oven in a covered round pan or dutch oven.
The Shabbat version of Dabo is called “Berekete“, which is blessed by the clergy. Sometimes the baker accompanied family members to the synagogue, to be blessed as well. After blessing, the bread was taken home and eaten alongside rich homemade cheese (agavat) and vegetable salad. Dabo is also served at festive events and to break fast at the end of Sigd, a holiday observed by the Beta Israel community.