In a society where everyone is going bonkers over managing his weight, “Protein Drinks, Breakfast Smoothies, Milk Shakes”(or whatever fancy name one might coin) have become the most-sought after stars of the market. Whey Protein Cartons pull out huge sum of money from the pockets of the gym-going populace. It seems as if all of them are tread milling, jump roping, gasping and perspiring just to gulp down their throat a bottle of ostentatious and expensive whey water. They don’t even know whether these so-called Diet Drinks, that cost them an arm and a leg, deserve to be this exorbitant! India has an answer to this rhetoric and an anodyne for this saga of swallowing the unknown—SATTU, the spiritual food.
Sattu & it’s Origin
Sattu is a homemade flour prepared by the amalgamation of certain natural protein rich ingredients, the majority of which are ground Pulses that are traditionally grown.
The origin of Sattu dates back to ancient India when people in an agrarian society needed humongous amounts of energy in their muscles to till the land under a glaring sun morning through late evenings. Big basins of Sattu powder mixed with buttermilk, cumin and salt would pitch in as a hunger saviour during those relentless hours of physical labor. The protein factor in Sattu was high enough to inject a fresh surge of strength in the fatigued bodies of the farmers and thus compensated for every dribble of sweat that had trickled from their brows. Sattu, it can therefore be said, has the quality of restoring the lost bloom and is hence considered a true Super Food.
Sattu is very much a pre-modern food idea that went through some amount of development and evolution with the passage of time keeping its fundamental “Protein Quotient” intact. Conventionally speaking, while in some parts of India Sattu was mainly dry roasted Split Chickpeas ground into a fine powder, in some other parts of the country it was a combination of Split Chickpeas, Black Chickpeas(Bengal Gram) and some Peanuts roasted and blended into a coarse powder.There were few other places in India, like Odisha, that believed in combining some amounts of carbohydrates and sugars into the flour in order to add to its satiety index(SI). According to the veteran producers of Sattu, limited quantities of ground Flat Rice or Finger Millets and Jaggery Powder elevated the overall quality of Sattu. No matter what the permutations and combinations of ingredients were, the element of Protein and Energy stayed at the nucleus of Sattu and therefore it went on to become from “the Poor Man’s Protein” to “Every Household’s Health Food”. With due course of time, Sattu kept gaining its popularity in leaps and bounds thereby making its way to the shelves of the supermarkets.
The Sattu Market
The commercial story of Sattu began with housewives of a random locality coming together to collecting all the Pulses, washing and sun drying them, dry roasting them on large iron girdles, mashing and grinding them in traditional blenders, packaging the prepared flour and selling the dry mixture to people of neighboring areas. The benefits of Sattu were reaped by people in no time and this small scale business grew in dramatic speed. Gradually the popularity of Sattu arrested the attention of the bigger market. Initially the big business houses imported Sattu from the ladies of their region at wholesale prices.
Later, owing to the rapid increase in the demand and popularity of Sattu, they went on to learn the technicalities involved in making Sattu and produced it in their factories and sold it like a full fledged commercial food item.
From the small pond to the big river and then from the huge sea to the gigantic ocean, Sattu has travelled places since then and has seen its fame rise sharp and high. In current times, Sattu is even sold in all Indian and South Asian grocery stores across borders in all its ranges and varieties. It has already made its space in the American and European food markets and is just baby steps away from taking that giant leap of carving a niche in their pantries.
Sattu— the Yogiterian Food Choice & the Perfect Whey Replacement
In this rapidly and rampantly evolving times, it is imperative to make some sensible food choices. Whether you are non-vegetarian, vegetarian, pescatarian or vegan, being Yogiterian is primary. Yogiterianism is about making the correct food choice every single time you eat without making any trade offs with your cravings, desires and requirements. Sattu is the best Yogiterian food one can incorporate in his/ her daily diet.
This yogiterian aspect of Sattu demands serious and sincere attention from the throngs of people who are hyper conscious about their health. One of my fitness freak Lawyer friends once remarked, “No doubt I shell out a fortune on that Whey Protein Box, but a tall glass of Protein Shake after an hour long at gym leaves me fulfilled”, to which I responded with a jar of Sattu saying “how about ecstasy, that too without spending a fortune!”
Sattu is that powerful Protein Powder that is potent enough to replace any modern day insanely priced Canned Whey Protein Box for which people go nuts and bananas. Don’t we get frazzled while scrolling down the endless list of outrageous ingredients mentioned behind the glossy exteriors of these cartons? We generally eulogize things that are beyond our immediate comprehension, while anything that is plain, lucid and straightforward appears like child’s play and we therefore relegate them to the background. Sattu belongs to the latter part of the narrative. It doesn’t deliberately intend to please anyone and is therefore free from the burden of artificial fragrances, texture enhancing colours or attention seeking packaging. It is indeed the one stop destination for every fitness fanatic and also for any regular fitness enthusiast.
Sattu is the perfect post-workout Protein Powder that people have been frenziedly searching for since ages and were frantically hitting, missing and experimenting with so many of them of the breed. This is the one stop destination for the workout-dependant multitude who hanker to manage and maintain their weights. It is a balance food doing good both for the over-weight and the under-weight too. No matter in whichever side of the scale you fall, you will always benefit from Sattu.
Preparation of Sattu Flour—
The most interesting characteristic of Sattu is its versatility. Commercially sold Sattu is made up of an assortment of ingredients that could actually turn this “Poor Man’s Protein” into a very attractive food title. For instance, many prefer adding cashew nuts, almonds, walnuts, milk powder, etc along with the basic Pulses to enhance the richness of their product.
Recently one of my South Asian friends residing in Toronto shared her recipe of Sattu flour which startled me altogether. Her version of Sattu was ketogenic, an ensemble of almond flour, coconut flour and a few sachets of stevia. “I enjoy a mug of Ketogenic Sattu after smashing some calories on the elliptical”, she said.
Although the age old procedure of making Sattu has evolved in more ways than one, yet the oldest methodology of preparing a coarse, textured, granular Sattu flour with a melange of pulses/lentils stays uncontested.
Sattu is inherently natural and can be prepared without any sophisticated machinery. It has no lavish ingredient involved in it and is potent enough to replace any “Modern Day Energy Boost Impactful Protein Shake Can” that has carts of fads attached to it.
Here goes the simplest recipe of traditional Sattu Flour—
1 cup Split Chickpeas(Chana Dal)
1 cup Black Chickpeas(Kala Chana)
½ cup Finger Millets(Ragi)
½ cup Whole Wheat Flour/ Flat Rice Flour(Atta/Chivda)
½ cup Peanuts
Dry roast the aforesaid ingredients over slow flame in a heavy bottomed pan. Grind them individually into a coarse powder in your domestic blender. Mix all of them together and store this health packed potpourri in an airtight container for months on end. You can also pop the jar into the refrigerator to keep the freshness of Sattu intact for a longer duration.