One of the most indigenous protein sources of India, sattu is no stranger to the locals of Bihar, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, UP, and West Bengal. Usually served as a sharbat by street vendors at the peak of summer, sattu, typically made of roasted Bengal gram, has a near-instant cooling effect on the body.
And when made into balls, to be eaten with curry, it becomes a powerhouse of energy. The ‘poor man’s protein’ as it is often referred to is not only tasty, but packed with a lot of health benefits as well.
The old school method of making sattu would involve drying roasting Bengal gram in sand (as peanuts are on the roads), using a sieve to strain the sand, and then pounding the roasted gram to a powder.
Some people even use a mix of chickpea and Bengal gram to make sattu, and that adds an interesting twist to the flavour. In Punjab, sattu is usually made with barley. In fact, the drink made with this flour can easily be the equivalent of a lemon barley drink.
At home, an iron wok to roast the gram is enough, and you don’t really need sand for it. But then again with sattu available commercially, one no longer has the need to make the flour at home. You can even buy sattu combined with wheat, barley or sorghum (jowar) from the supermarket.
The Health Benefits
Apart from providing the body with energy, what makes sattu quite a unique ingredient is that its prepping process (dry roasting) keeps the nutritional values in place, and it can also be stored for longer. It’s high on insoluble fiber, which makes it good for your intestines, and is low on glycemic index, making it safe, and in fact beneficial for diabetics. Plus it has good proportions of iron, manganese, and magnesium, and is low on sodium too.
So whether you’re watching your weight or suffering from digestion problems, a glass of sattu sharbat, or even rotis made from sattu will go a long way in keeping you healthy. And did you know that sattusharbat is also a brilliant way to detoxify the system of greasy food? It also contributes generously to the growth of muscle mass, and it’s advised that children are given about two teaspoons of sattu every day.