Kocho is a traditional flatbread in the Gurage cuisine in Ethiopia, usually served with the meat dish called “kitfo,” and / or a cabbage called “Ubasha Cabbage”, which is high in vitamin A.
The bread is made from fermented starch, also called “Kocho,” from the Enset plant.
The green leaf sheaths of this plant are scraped with a bamboo scraper. The scrapings are then put in a pit in the ground, lined with Enset leaves, along with some yeast mixed into the scrapings. The pit is then covered with Enset leaves, and rocks. It is allowed to ferment for at least a month; generally much longer — up to two years is not uncommon. The pit might be opened up once and twice, and the contents stirred. The longer it ferments, the better the taste. The scrapings are green before fermentation in the ground; afterwards, they turn white, and have a smell like cheese.
Kocho can be removed from the pits as needed for use. The women are in charge of the pits, treating them as household assets. The woman might even take out some for sale at the market, to buy other things.
To make bread from it, the amount needed is taken out of the pit, and chopped for a few minutes with a large knife blade to make sure any fibres remaining are chopped up.
This “dough” is then mixed with spices and butter, and formed into flatbreads. These can be baked on griddles or clay pans, or wrapped in leaves and baked in an oven pit.
The bread will keep for a few days.
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Utilization of Tropical Foods: Trees. 1989. Page 42.
Henok A. Ethiopianizm – The Dorze People of Southern Ethiopia Part II. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Video posted to YouTube 17 August 2007. Retrieved October 2010 from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4KhXw6jnapI