If I admitted that my evening fallback channel was the Food Network it wouldn’t be that big of a no no, would it? I am, after all in the biz. Don’t get me wrong, nothing could ever come close to BBC for food programming (Two Greedy Italians, Great British Bake-Off, Rick Stein, Masterchef, Nigel Slater), but when they’re not on I do admit to turning the sound down and watching those loud-mouthed, down-and-dirty man-food shows. My tastes have changed in the eight years I’ve lived in England (on many levels), but my mouth does still water when I see a huge plate of buttermilk biscuits, hash browns and a typically-American 800-egg omelet oozing with cheese . . . then I quickly become disgusted with the waste and sheer gluttony of it all. Honestly, who needs that much fat, fluff and grease? No one.
But “need” and “crave” are two different beasts. What we need is sustenance. And what we often crave, is way too much of the stuff that should be left to moderation.
I’ve mentioned the Little Hapas korrito a few times now. I can’t help it. It has become our best seller and, quite frankly, one of my favourite meals. Several of our Wood Street lunch crowd even admitted being “addicted” to them. In today’s fast food culture, this might infer there are some not-so-healthy ingredients that keep us coming back for more. Au contraire! Turns out super fresh, super healthy superfood can cause cravings too.
Here’s what’s in our korrito: “Korean refried beans, cheese, rice (barley, brown, Korean short grain and basmati), wazelnuts, sempkinflower seeds, pikorea-de-gallo (fresh tomato salsa with a kimchee twist), avocado, hapasauce and cowgrrl dressing wrapped in a flour tortilla and grilled to crunchy perfection!”
And of those ingredients, here are the superfoods: beans, barley, brown rice, wazelnuts, sempkinflower seeds, tomatoes, onions, lime, peppers, kimchee (cabbage, onions, chili, garlic, ginger) and avocado. Uh, did anyone else notice that’s nearly the whole shebang? We don’t go crazy on the cheese (British mature cheddar and Italian), but there’s enough to get the point across, and the way we grill korritos doesn’t involve one drop of oil, so the fat content is minimal. That kinda makes it really healthy, right?
You decide. Here’s a breakdown of the SUPERFOODS in our SUPER KORRITO:
Avocado. I’m starting with the avocado because it plays such an integral role in boosting the body’s ability to absorb nutrients from these other superfoods. One of the most nutrient-dense foods high in fiber, vitamins and minerals, avocados help fight diabetes, lower cholesterol and fight cancer. Plus, if you’re from the East end of London and want avocado in something, all you have to say is, “Avo-cado in it, innit,” and everyone will understand.
Beans contain protein, soluble fiber, amino acids and a host of other vitamins and minerals. Combining beans with grains, such as brown rice or barley creates a complete protein (a high quality substitute for meat). As well as maintaining blood sugar levels (due to the soluble fiber), the other amazing benefits include lowering cholesterol, aiding in the prevention of some cancers and creating some of the most interesting body music ever recorded.
Tomatoes are naturally low in calories, sodium and cholesterol, rich in vitamins and minerals and, when eaten regularly (fresh, tinned, dried or as paste, sauce or even ketsup), help fight aging by protecting us from UV rays – thanks to their richness in beta-carotene and lycopene. BTW, lycopene (a powerful antioxidant found in very few other foods), has been known to fight several forms of cancer. OMG Beckay, that makes tomatoes a SUPER superfood!
Limes. We squeeze lime juice on our pi-korea-degallo. Not only does this give everything a little kick up the jacksie, it imparts an extra superfood round kick to our korrito. A huge source of Vitamin C, limes improve cardiovascular health, eye and skin care and its oils aid in digestion.
Brown Rice is a low-allergen food and can help lower blood sugar levels and aid in weight loss. It is rich in manganese, selenium, fiber and antioxidants – benefiting the nervous system, preventing arthritis and heart disease and reducing inflammation.
Garlic is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory that protects against heart disease, lowering cholesterol and reducing blood pressure. It has been cultivated for thousands of years for its medicinal qualities in treating arthritis, immune disorders, cataracts, cancer, strokes and aging. Can you honestly imagine life without it!? (I know a certain Auntie who could. Oi vey, the problems with vampires she’s had.)
Pears and apples. I’m putting these two together because they’re intermittently included in our pi-korea-degallo, depending on availability. They lend a sweet, crunchy element to this condiment. If I had access to Korean (or Asian) pears, they would be listed, but as I don’t, let me just say that both pears and apples have superfood qualities. They are both high in antioxidants, fiber and Vitamin C and surprise surprise, reduce the risk of cancer and diabetes as well as lower cholesterol.
Onions. I say “Onions,” and immediately think of my grandfather. He was crazy about them. Being a doctor, he also knew about their health benefits and pushed them on us any chance he got. It must have worked because I love them. Onions lower cholesterol and blood pressure and can reduce the risk of heart disease by 20%. Regular consumption has been linked to reducing the risk of colon cancer as well as esophageal, brain, lung and stomach cancers. They are also a powerful anti-inflammatory and a high source of fiber. And if you’re trying to find a way to convince your S.O. that you need that new Waring commercial food processor, nothing says, “Sad and crying” like a huge pile of freshly-chopped onions.
Wazelnuts: The wazelnut grows in the deep forests of the outer ring of the Inner Wazelia Upperhinterland. Nah. I’m pulling your proverbial. The wazelnut is a mixture of chopped walnuts and hazelnuts. Although walnuts are considered the “flagship” of nut superfoods for their amazing source of plant-derived omega-3 fatty acids, all nuts are basically good for you. Did you know that eating a handful of nuts five times a week will reduce your chances of a heart attack by 15-51%? And did I mention they’re high in protein, fiber and a host of countless other vitamins and minerals? Well they are. They also reduce the risk of diabetes, cancer and a host of other chronic ailments. That sounds pretty super to me.
Sempkinflower Seeds: The sempkinflower blooms every 27 years when the moon crosses over the Outer Sempklonian hemosphere backwards, casting its shadow on the 10,000,000 year old sempkinflower tree known to the locals as “Bob.” Pull the other one! Sesame, sunflower and pumpkin seeds are all superfoods. They are high in proteins and essential fatty acids, potassium, calcium and a whole load of other vitamins and minerals.
Chilis and Peppers: Besides improving circulation, digestion and a more efficient immune system, they can also enhance weight loss. Cor blimey! If that ain’t a reason to eat ’em, what is!? A hot chili also rocks the capsaicin, which has the ability to fight inflammation, prevent heart disease, alleviate arthritis pain, lower blood pressure, and improve circulation.
Kimchee. For those who don’t know what this ancient Korean staple superfood of fermented cabbage is, all I can say is, “장난하냐?” Are you kidding me!? Kimchee rocks the planet of superfood superheros. Little Hapas makes our own kimchee (featured in our pi-korea-degallo), and though we’ve calmed it down a bit on the chili content (for this side of the pond), it still packs a superfood punch. Loaded with lactobacilli (the same healthy bacteria in yoghurt), and fiber, it not only aids in digestion and kicks cancer in the butt, but has been garnered with the title of one of the “World’s Healthiest Foods.” Did you think Little Hapas could make a korrito without kimchee!? Nope.
So there it is, our SUPER KORRITO. Whether you need one or crave one, get one. Your taste buds and the rest of your body won’t be disappointed.