Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Burrito Bonanza

First of all, I wish to thank the Mexican-American people for such a wonderful, versatile, and tasty dish as the burrito. I understand that the burrito, and other handheld foods like the taco, have a long and rich indigenous past. The tortillas I use wil not be traditional corn but instead flour but I would like to thank the ancestors of the Aztecs, Pueblo and other peoples who helped to bring this food to our table. I also realize that many cultures around the world have some sort of flat bread, wrap, or pastry filled with assorted food including my own (Jamaican) so I would also like to give thanks to these cultures. Through generations upon generations, these foods have sustained people and we are so blessed to live in a time in which we can expand our plates and palettes to include such a variety of food. So thank you to the indigenous people worldwide who have tried and tested the health benefits of many of the foods that I include in these dishes.

So now about the Vida Vegan Contest: Burrito Bonanza. When I learned about this contest, I was so excited but unfortunately learned that all of the tickets sold out. There were only three left and I had missed the contest to win the first one which was songwriting. When I saw the winning entry, I thought it was well selected. (She is an amazing songbird.) Then there was the second one, an edible version of yourself. I thought, yes! I can do this. But as the days rolled around, I found it difficult and I was not feeling motivated (or well at the time). So finally, the last contest rolled around. A burrito contest! Oh my gosh! It was a puzzle.

I wanted to enter this contest and Epicurious Vegan, the woman organizing it, wrote:
This is a silly contest, meant to be fun for everyone involved.

I had to make a burrito but, this burrito had to be special. Really special.

So I decided to make this a cancer fighting burrito.

"Scary," my fiance said. "Cancer is scary." True. I know that and we have experienced some scary moments through this journey as a couple. I have also met some young cancer survivors and patients who have shared some of their experiences. Some of these stories were scary. But... how do I take something as scary as cancer and make it fun and silly. That's a puzzle.

An anti-cancer burrito. I even named it that. ANTI-CANCER BURRITO. I showed it to my fiance and he said, "No. No one is going to eat a burrito with the word cancer in it." (My fiance is very straightforward.) My youngest sister agreed. So I went back to the drawing board and found a cool name for this burrito. ZAP! We wish for all of the cancer cells to go away in a ZAP!

I have done quite a bit of reading and have come across literature in The China Study, The Anti-Cancer, Skinny Bitch, Foods that Fight Cancer, and Crazy, Sexy, Cancer and films like Forks Before Knives that indicate you can slow cancer growths through many plant-based foods. Many of our ancestors knew this because the foods they ate had phytochemicals and antioxidants which slowed cancer growths and prevented cancers.

So how do I make this burrito address cancer yet make it not scary and "fun and silly"?

I came up with some superheroes associated with this burrito. They all have superpowers and use the burrito to strengthen their superpower. Each of these superheroes is a cancer survivor.

The ZAP Comic Strip Draft

I introduce to you... 7 Days of ZAP Burritos. (Complete with cancer-fighting ingredients.)

Day 1 BurrEdo- Japanese style contains tofu, broccoli, peanuts, ginger, soya sauce, onion, garlic, shitake and portabello mushrooms, and seaweed

Day 2 B"Irie"tto- Jamaican style contains cabbage, pumpkin, soya sauce, onion, jerk sauce, turmeric, black pepper, and split peas

Day 3 Burritaliano- Italian style contains olive oil, portabello mushroom, garlic, pinto beans, walnuts, lemon, red wine, oregano, and dark leafy greens

Day 4 BurrIndo- Indian style contains chick peas, turmeric, black pepper, tomatoes, chili pepper, cumin, onions, coriander, cayenne, mango, spinach, lemon juice, and garlic

Day 5 Burritalamode- Dessert style burrito crepe contains red wine, dark chocolate, walnuts, strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries

Day 6 Burrito Original - Mexican style contains black beans, mole (dark chocolate, tomatoes, peppers, pumpkin seeds, almonds, garlic, onion, cumin, oregano, cocoa, cacao nibs), avocado, spicy tomato salsa (onions, tomatoes, cilantro, lemon)

Day 7 Motherland Burrito- West African style contains yams and fufu flour (these are low-glycemic), peppers, black-eyed peas, and peanut butter

In all, I made seven burritos-- one for each day of the week and one for each of my superhero characters. These burritos contain vegan (plant-based) foods which contain antioxidants and phytochemicals which prevent the growth of cancer cells. The superheroes, all cancer survivors, eat these burritos and they use their superpowers to fight cancer.

I present to you the


flour tortillas
3 cups of negro (white) yam (may use yellow yam) Note: Yam is not to be mistaken with sweet potatoes which is orange inside or the Caribbean variety which has purple skin and white insides.
1/2 cup of crunchy peanut butter
1 plantain
red hot pepper sauce

Akara (Black-eyed Fritters)
1 cup of black-eyed peas (soaked overnight or for at least 8 hours)
1 shallot
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp chili
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp vegetable oil

2 cups of water
1 cup of fufu flour (plantain or cocoyam)

Soak the black-eyed peas overnight.

Peel and cut the yam into 1 inch slices.

Then cube the yam.

Put it in a pot filled with boiling water for 25 minutes. Make sure that the water covers the yams

Rub the black-eyed peas in the water vigorously with two hands to remove the skins.

The skins of the black-eyed peas will float to the top of the water. Then remove the water and skins by pouring it out of the bowl, holding back the peas so that they stay in. Then refill the bowl with water and start to rub them vigorously again. You will need to repeat this task several times. (It gets a little frustrating and can take a long time.)

But soon you will have removed all of the skins off your black-eyed peas.

Peel and chop your shallots.

Put black-eyed peas, shallots, cayenne pepper, chili, black pepper, ginger, and salt all in a blender or food processor.

Blend the items until they make a thick batter. It does not need to be smooth. Add water if necessary to keep the blender blades moving.

Pour black-eyed pea mixture into bowl.

Heat pan with vegetable oil on high until sizzling, then turn to medium. Place spoon fulls of black-eyed pea mixture into the hot oil to form patties. Cook each side of the akara for two mintues.

The akara is finished.

Now for the fufu. Boil two cups of water in a pot. Remove 1 cup of the water. Pour in 1 cup of fufu flour.

Mix with spoon for 4 minutes.

Fufu will form and resemble mashed potatoes. You may roll the fufu at this point.

Cut plantain into slices.

Fry plantains in 2 tbsp of hot vegetable oil. Fry for 2 minutes each side or until golden yellow.

Place peanut butter into the microwave for 2 minutes until it is softer and more spreadable. Now all your ingredients are ready for the Motherland Burrito.

Spread peanut butter onto torilla, then the akara.

Place fufu, yams. plantains, and hot sauce on top.

And there you got your Motherland Burrito.


Anonymous said...

Your Burritos make me want to leave work, run home and try them all!!!
Thanks for the amazing recipes Nadia!

janessa said...

Wow, 7 days of burritos! It's like heaven!

Tierra H. said...


I definitely say this young lady deserves to win! ♥ First off, she made SEVEN burritos! Each one represents a different culture, they all are 100% vegan and incorporated into every one of them are cancer-fighting ingredients! She even created a comic strip to go along with it (definitely deserves brownie points) - speaking of brownie did I mention she made a dessert burrito too?

Nadia's entry is so creative! She put in an overload of effort & dedication... With no hesitation, she has my vote! <3

fionamvp said...

Amazing....I'm sure anyone wanting to lose weight can use this 7 day meal plan!!