//India’s oldest protein source, Sattu: a natural, inexpensive health drink?

India’s oldest protein source, Sattu: a natural, inexpensive health drink?

In my childhood days, mostly on summer vacation I used to visit my village. I belong to Northern part of India. My grandparents were landlord and had a lot of farm lands. There were many workers working on the farm, ploughing, harvesting, lifting heavy sacks of crops from the field to the storehouse etc. The workers were mostly poor and their diet very simple, it’s not that the farmers or the laborers were malnourished.  In the morning they would have a simple diet of yogurt and Poha (flattened rice) with Gur (jaggery). Most of the workers carried a small bag of Sattu (see below).  In between their heavy physical labour they would mix Sattu in water, put some salt for taste and drink it.  Or they made dough balls of it and water and ate it with a jug of cool water.

This drink has been famous to states in the North India for generations and are used as a natural cure for several diseases as well as a high value, nutrient dense staple food.  Sattu made of roasted gram flour, the locals drink that keeps them high on energy and healthy through out the hot summer months. It is equivalent to whey protein; it is a good source of vegetarian protein and is easily digestible. It helps calcium to be absorbed more efficiently and is a very good source of magnesium, fiber and iron too. 60 grams (4 tbsp) of this roasted flour will give you 19.7 grams of high quality protein.

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Most importantly Sattu was just not a poor man’s diet.  Even we used it at home. My mom used to make a drink by mixing Sattu in chilled water and put lime and a pinch of roasted cumin seeds for taste. I also use to make stuff Parathas (fried flatten bread) with a mixture of Sattu, fried onions, mint and spices.

I am overwhelmed, as once again I discover that nature has provided everything to us. We fail to discover as we got caught in the trap of marketing and media.

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