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From sharbat to litti: Sattu recipes you must try

Have you ever tasted a flour that can be consumed uncooked? There is one, and a very simple one at that, which is easily available too.

sattu-main Sattu Sharbat (Source: Sanghamitra Mazumdar)

Have you ever tasted a flour that can be consumed uncooked? There is one, and a very simple one at that, which is easily available too. This flour, made from roasted gram, is commonly known as sattu and is most popular in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. Called a poor man’s food, the humble sattu is packed with nutrients and is actually a wonder food with loads of health benefits.

It’s good for the intestines due to its high fiber content. It’s beneficial for diabetics and blood pressure patients, has a low glycemic index, is rich in protein and its cooling properties make sattu a perfect summer food. Health experts also suggest sattu if you are suffering from gas, acidity and constipation. The wholesome meal is beneficial for all age groups.

The inexpensive sattu is now gradually making its way to restaurants in Delhi and other cities. The menu at Pot Belly in Delhi offers a range of sattu items – sattu parantha, sattu puri, litti, sattu cooler to name a few. Restaurant chain Not Just Paranthas, too, has sattu items on its menu.

If you are in a mood to try out sattu for the first time then litti-chokha and parathas are the best bet. There are some sweet dishes too that you can make with sattu. And one item that you must try is sattu sharbat. As I said in the beginning, this is a flour that you don’t need to cook to eat. Just mix a spoonful of it in a glass of water, along with sugar or salt (or both) and lemon, and your instant energy drink is ready. And if you want it to be more filling, just take a bowl of sattu, add mix in a little water, chopped onions, tomatoes, chillies and lemon. You won’t feel hungry for a long time after eating this. In my Bengali household, needless to say, my grandmother and mother preferred sattu with just sugar and water and this used to be their favourite breakfast.

Here are some quick and tasty sattu recipes.

Sattu sharbat (serves 2 glasses)

Sattu: 2 tablespoons
Sugar: 3 tablespoons
Salt: To taste
Lemon: 1
Water: 2 glasses

Take a tablespoon of sattu and one-and-a-half tablespoons of sugar in a glass. Make a smooth paste first, adding a little water, to avoid lumps. Now, fill the glass with chilled water, add salt and the juice of half a lemon. Your sattu sharbat is ready.

Note: It’s a very healthy drink and you should have it before going out in the sun. Regular consumption of sattu is believed to protect you from heatstroke. Adding a dash of mint leaves will make it even cooler. You can use more sattu if you want it thicker and adjust the quantity of sugar accordingly. Diabetics can consider using only salt. In fact, many roadside vendors serve the salty variety with finely chopped onions and chaat masala.

Sattu parantha

Ingredients (for the dough)
Whole wheat flour: 2 cups
Maida (refined flour): 1/2 cups
Salt: To taste
Oil/ghee: 2 tablespoons

Ingredients (for the stuffing)
Sattu: 5 tablespoons
Onion: 1 (chopped)
Coriander leaves: 1 tablespoon (chopped)
Green chillies: 2-3 (chopped)
Amchur (dried mango powder): 2 teaspoons
Chilli powder: 1/2 teaspoons
Sugar: 1/2 teaspoons
Salt to taste
Ghee/oil: 1 teaspoons

Sieve the flours with the salt. Add the oil/ghee and mix well. Add some water, enough to make a semi-soft dough. Knead the dough well and keep aside. Now mix all the ingredients for the stuffing and keep aside. Divide the dough into 10-12 portions. Roll out one portion into a small circle (around 3″ diameter). Put one spoon of the prepared filling in the centre of the circle. Pull up all the sides and bring them to the centre and seal tightly. Now roll out the paratha with the help of a little dry flour. Fry the paratha on a griddle, using a little oil/ghee, until both sides are golden brown. Repeat the process with the rest of the portions. Serve hot with coriander/mint chutney or curd.

Note: My mother would mix any pickle available at home with the sattu filling and it just took the already delicious dish to yet another level. Maida is optional.

Ingredients (for the dough)
Whole wheat flour: 2 cups
Ghee: 1/4 cup
Salt: to taste

Ingredients (for the filling)
Sattu: 1 cup
Onion: 1 (chopped)
Oil: 2 tablespoons
Cumin seeds: 1 teaspoon
Asafoetida: A pinch
Coriander leaves: 1 tablespoon (chopped)
Amchur (dried mango powder): 1 teaspoon
Garam masala: 1/2 teaspoon
Chilli powder: 1/2 teaspoon
Salt: To taste

Preheat oven to 200 degrees  C. Mix the flour, salt, ghee and water to make a stiff dough. Keep it aside (covered) for half an hour.  Mix all the ingredients for the stuffing and keep aside. Now make about 15 smooth balls from the dough. Take one of them and roll it out into a thick circle. Place the filling in the centre and pull up the edges together and seal it. Use a little water around the edges to ensure they stick. Smoothen the ball by rolling it between your palms. Repeat the process with the rest of the balls and bake them in the pre-heated oven for 10 minutes. Now lower the oven temperature to 100 degrees. Once the crust turns brown, switch off the oven. Pour ghee on top of the littis and serve hot.

Note: Litti tastes best with chokha, usually made with mashed potatoes or roasted brinjals. Chokha can be made in different ways. The easiest way is to mash boiled potatoes and mix in some chopped onions, ginger, green chillies and salt. You can also cook the mixture a little in ghee. If you don’t like potatoes, use roasted brinjal instead. While litti is traditionally made in coal oven/tandoor, you can also fry them in oil/ghee, though it will be less healthy in that case.

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