Gram flour, or Sattu, or Chatu… no matter what the name, it is hands down the most underestimated Indian Superfood out there. Overlooked because it is apparently too simple, ignored because it is dirt cheap, and taken-for-granted because it is a ‘poor man’s everyday food’. If you have ever been to Kolkata, Patna or any East Indian city for that matter, you will find small time sellers in hand pushed carts selling Sattu Sherbet, either sweet or sour, depending on your preference. More often than not, you will find laborers, Taxi Drivers and the hard working class in general flocking to these joints for a quick morning fix that will get them through the day.
So… What exactly is it?
Sattu is nothing but Gram, or Chola roasted, and then ground to a powder. Yes, it is that simple. It does not need weeks to extract, or days to process, or hours to make. Maybe that is precisely why the current generation used to be bored by it. It used to lack the elegant backstory that is a part and parcel of processed “nutritious” food. Thankfully, youngsters are now much more aware of the health benefits of Sattu, and it is precisely why in recent times, Sattu has gained tremendous popularity.
But… How will it help me?
Where do we begin? More often than not, you will find a picture of a body-builder on packets of Sattu sold in India. The simple reason is, Indian body-builders swear by Sattu. From wrestling akharas, to desi gymnasiums, everywhere a glass of Sattu Drink is must after a heavy workout. And why not? Sattu is about 20% Protein by weight, contains calcium, iron, manganese and magnesium which are all essentials in tissue repair initiated after a straining workout. If you doubt the credibility of Indian wrestlers, take a look at the 2016 Olympics.
Ummm… Is that all?
Sattu is extremely popular as a summertime beverage in tropical countries. A large portion of Sattu is carbohydrates. It is that kind of carbs that gives you an instant burst of energy and is easily absorbed in the bloodstream. If you are fatigued by heat and feeling famished out in the sun, there is nothing better than Sattu. Well, except an umbrella. But you cannot drink an umbrella.
Okay… What else?
Sattu is ideal for all round nourishment of the human body. It is equally beneficial for growing children, Adults as well as pregnant women and senior citizens. It is easily available, easily made and easily digested. Since it is responsible for an overall nutritious diet, it is extremely beneficial for glowing skin and flowing hair, as when your body is nourished, these two are the first to show it. A glass of Sattu a day, keeps the Parlor away! Husbands, are you reading this?
Awesome! But how do I make it?
Sattu is extremely versatile as far as cooking is concerned. Uttar Pradesh and Bihar have been historically robbed by “Litti Chokha” (Sattu stuffed balls of Flour baked in coal fire, served with spiced mashed potato and vegetable curry) way before Shilpa Shetty’s attempt. Sattu can be made into Laddoos which make for a delectable sweet dish for the health conscious. You can also use sattu for stuffing Puris, Rotis and Kachauris with equally mind blowing results every single time.
For those of you who want to give this a try, here is a quick recipe for a glass of Awesome Indian Sattu.
- Take about 100 grams of sattu
- Take 400 ml of water
- A lemon
- Diced onion (about a tablespoon)
- A pinch of salt
Now take a bowl and put the Sattu. Add water slowly, first forming a paste and then diluting the mixture slowly into a drink. Add the juice of a lemon, the diced onion, salt and mix. Pour into a glass and enjoy. If you have a sweet-tooth, you can replace the achaar, onion, and the salt with some honey.
Our resident nitritionist Luke swears by the Superpower of Sattu for people with weakened immune and digestive systems, like when suffering from cancer. Why? Because it is as primal as it gets. Pound for pound, it is one of the easiest to digest, and energy dense foods available. Add to that the versatility with which one can prepare sattu, and we have a clear winner in our hands...
Have your own Sattu story? Or do you have a lip smacking sattu recipe to share? Do let us know in the comments below!