Friday, February 3, 2012

Bək’olo – the Rainy Season’s Treat

It’s been almost a couple of weeks now since many of us started to feel…only feel, the long-awaited rainy season, the kΪrəmt, although we’re in reality sensing the not-so-usual-kind of bΪrd /cold/ and zΪnab /rain/. In the past, kΪrəmt used to be not accommodating if one wants to have touristy time. However, it is now actually lighter and brighter, in all respects, compared to those of the yesteryears. That means, you don’t have to miss your customary walking or running on the streets around your place despite some drizzling… and can always remain fit doing your outdoor exercises. But one thing you notice as you return from this routine is a whiff of the freshly roasted odor of a certain cereal on almost every corner of the metroplis …surely, you never want to pass by it…. and together with your fatigue from the exercise, your stomach “reacts”positively to it…and on a whim, you feel like starving. This makes you guess whether this roasted aroma could be the best “fast” food of the rainy season. You guessed it right … this is Bək’olo TΪbs,the seasonal treat. Because of its slightly sweet flavor and crisp, juicy texture, Bək’olo is a favorite of adults and children alike. I know that some native localities go even further, opting for Kurt’ sΪga /raw meat/ , instead, to “regenerate” lost internal heat for such time of year. On the other hand, others perhaps would rather settle on hot macaroni soup as it helps to perspire on cold rainy days. Nonetheless, owing to its fair price and rich dietary value, Bək’olo TΪbs is the most favored choice for many as their kΪrəmt seasonal treat… it’s not a surprise if many are seen grabbing some on their way home. You already got it… Bək’olo TΪbs is corn /maize/ on the cob roasted on charcoal fire with a slightly smoky flavor. You can do it by putting some ears of Bək’olo (no husks) on a barbeque grill (or the local charcoal stove) and cooking them until they are almost charred on the outside and rotating continuously to cook them evenly. Bək’olo TΪbs is so addictive (at least to many of us) that once you tasted the organic ones, you wish the showery days lasted longer (unfortunately, there are only few retailers who can make it genuinely flavorsome). So, follow this wise counsel : when purchasing organic fresh Bək’olo, ask for ləga (fresh) ones and buy it with the green husks.
Keep the husk intact while storing the Bək’olo to maintain flavor and freshness, but you should really buy ləga ones on the day you plan to eat it. To test the Bək’olo before purchase, peel back a corner of the husk and make sure the kernels are plump and tightly packed together. Pierce one kernel with a fingernail to check for plumpness — the raw kernel should exude a milky substance, which indicates that your Bək’olo will be fleshy and juicy when you bite into it! I always hear from a couple of long-time diaspora friends that, among other things, what they actually miss and remember with love from Ethiopia is the Bək’olo TΪbs that’s usually served on those long rainy days when school was closed, and all their family gathering together around the charcoal heat. They considered the heat symbolic of the love of their mothers who used to make the magical Bək’olo TΪbs. Bək’olo could also be eaten boiled, in the form of Bək’olo k’ Ϊk’Ϊl and is likeable by many, too. Some even prefer Bək’olo k’ Ϊk’Ϊl to Bək’olo TΪbs which has a smoky flavor. Whether you take it in Bək’olo TΪbs or Bək’olo k’ Ϊk’Ϊl form, you can be sure of it’s myriad health value.The medicinal worth of Bək’olo is beyond one’s imagination: just read any health journal and you’ll discover that it contains important B vitamins, which aids in the prevention of heart attacks and colon cancer, and to help improve memory. Bək’olo also contains important nutrients that help promote the health of the heart and the eyes. The kΪrəmt satiates us, local folks, in bringing nourishment to people in all of the usual ways–saturating crops, filling rain water tanks, and dams, possibly relieving us from the usual outage of power (though the current severe dearth of electric power is also unusual, just like this year’s kΪrəmt ). What cereal is more synonymous with the coming of kΪrəmt than the freshly picked natural Bək’olo on the cob? So, enjoy making Bək’olo TΪbs or Bək’olo k’ Ϊk’Ϊl an essential part of any kΪrəmt time party, BBQ fun or a refreshment for a long walk over the weekends. Məlkam SamΪnt! →Have a great week!

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