Sattu - Our Local Superfood Hero

Sattu, a traditional flour originating from the Magadh region of Bihar, holds a special place in the culinary landscape of South Asia. Derived from dry roasted and ground pulses and cereals, sattu has been cherished for centuries for its nutritional value, versatility, and cultural significance. Let us take a closer look at the history, uses, and regional variations of sattu, shedding light on its role as a staple ingredient in the cuisine of India, Nepal, Tibet, and Pakistan.

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History and Etymology:

The origins of sattu can be traced back to ancient times, with references found in Ayurvedic literature such as the Charaka-saṃhitā and Suśruta-saṃhitā. The word "sattu"  is derived from the Sanskrit word "Saktu," meaning coarsely ground parched barley meal. Over the centuries, sattu has evolved into a beloved ingredient in regional cuisines, cherished for its simplicity, affordability, and nutritional benefits.

Regional Variations and Culinary Uses:

Sattu finds widespread usage across South Asia, particularly in the states of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Punjab, and Delhi. In Bihar, it is commonly consumed as a savoury drink during the hot summer months, mixed with water, green chilli, lemon juice, and salt. It is also used as a stuffing in traditional dishes like litti and litti chokha, offering a burst of flavour and texture. In Punjab, sattu is enjoyed as a refreshing cold drink mixed with water and jaggery, providing relief from the sweltering heat.

Besides drinks, sattu is used to make delicious stuffed paranthas and sattu chilla. By adding sattu to mashed boiled potato, delicious healthy tikki or kababs are made. Sattu chokha is another popular dish in Bihar and is very healthy too. Moreover, it does not need cooking. Take a small quantity of sattu. Add finely chopped onion, green chilly, green coriander, and some mustard oil, along with basic spices like salt, chilly powder, and lemon juice. Mix well and kneed like the basic dough. It is ready to eat. Just make balls and eat. It is like salty ladoo. Sattu is filled in litties, another popular Bihari dish. It is very versatile and you can use your imagination to create many dishes. 

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Nutritional Benefits and Culinary Versatility:

Beyond its culinary appeal, sattu is prized for its nutritional value, serving as a rich source of protein and essential nutrients. It is often mixed with other ingredients like ripe bananas, cottage cheese, yoghurt, or milk to create wholesome breakfast dishes. Sattu made from ground barley or Bengal gram can be rolled into balls with salt and turmeric, offering a convenient and nutritious snack option.

Geographical Spread and Cultural Significance:

Sattu's popularity extends beyond India, reaching neighbouring countries like Nepal, Tibet, and Pakistan. In Pakistan's Punjab and Sindh provinces, sattu is enjoyed as a traditional summer drink, offering relief from heat and dehydration. The flour is prepared by dry-roasting grains or grams, such as barley or Bengal gram, and grinding them into a fine powder. Regional variations exist, with some regions incorporating additional ingredients like cashews, almonds, millet, or chickpeas.

In conclusion, sattu stands as a testament to the rich culinary heritage and cultural diversity of South Asia. Its humble origins and versatile nature have made it a beloved ingredient in regional cuisines, cherished for its nutritional benefits and culinary versatility. Whether enjoyed as a refreshing drink on a hot summer day or as a hearty stuffing in traditional dishes, sattu continues to captivate taste buds and nourish communities across the region.

It would be great if you could add Sattu to your diet. 

Neerja Bhatnagar

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