Cambabuur (Somali Crepes)

Cambabuur (pronounced ‘ambabuur’) is a fermented crepe like pancake, flavoured with saffron, turmeric, cumin, onion, garlic, and sometimes chilli.

It is a popular breakfast bread in Djibouti where it is eaten dipped in yoghurt. Among other Somalis it is usually drizzled with melted ghee (subag) and a sprinkle of sugar.  The combination of the sour bread, spices and sugar is simply mouth watering!

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Cambabuur (Somali Crepes)

Recipe by:
Rahma Mohamed Muse


1 kg of flour
1 litre of water or about 4 cups of water
1 tablespoon turmeric powder (hurud)
½  teaspoon black cumin (xabasuud) which can be found in most Somali or Indian grocery shops
A pinch of ground cumin
2 teaspoons fennel powder (khamoon)
1 crushed clove of garlic
Half an onion, finely diced
A teaspoon of dry yeast
A pinch of saffron powder (optional)
A pinch of salt
Melted ghee (subag) or yoghurt for serving with the cambabuur
Sugar for serving if using subag
Oil for cooking


Preparing the cambabuur batter
You need to ferment the cambabuur so prepare the mixture the day before you want to cook the bread.

1.    Mix the flour in large bowl with the water and beat thoroughly with a mixture. Traditionally this is done using the hand, making a slapping sound.
2.    Add in the two teaspoons of the fennel powder, onion and garlic. Continue mixing. Add a little bit of water if necessary to ensure that the batter is smooth.
3.    Mix the yeast in a small bowl by adding water and add to the batter.
4.    Add the yeast and continue mixing.
5.    Add the saffron and black cumin and ordinary cumin.
6.    Cover the batter and place in a warm place overnight. We usually heat the oven, switch it off and place the batter in the oven overnight. The humidity makes the batter rise and ferment.

NB: the cambabuur batter should have the smooth consistency of pancake batter.

Cooking method
1.    Stir the fermented batter and add salt to taste
2.    Heat a teaspoon of oil in a frying pan (we have a traditional flat pan called bir daawo)
3.    Pour a small amount of the batter into the pan and swill it around to cover the pan. When it starts to brown flip it and cook on the other side.
4.    Place in a plate and drizzle with melted ghee and a sprinkle of sugar
5.    Continue preparing the rest of the batter in the same way.

Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 10 + people

2 Responses to “Cambabuur (Somali Crepes)”

  1. Ilhan

    Thanks for posting the recipes. I love all of them but would like to add that cambaabur was not complet. I grow up in djibout and as long as I remember we were eating cambaabur on ciids. U have not lightly pan fried with ghee and sugar then after it is room temperature serve it with yogurt or buttermilk. Everything else was great except that pan frying which is what makes it cambaabut or otherwise it will be regular canjeero with Yogurt
    As Mentioned above I love your recipee and keep up the good work.

  2. The Somali Kitchen

    Hi Ilhan, thanks for your kind comments and feedback. Actually, the recipe mentions that cambabuur must be pan fried on both sides – see point 3 under method: Pour a small amount of the batter into the pan and swill it around to cover the pan. When it starts to brown flip it and cook on the other side.
    The recipe is from a Djiboutian and mentions that cambabuur is eaten with yoghurt, though some Somalis just sprinkle it with sugar – regional differences!


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