The humble and rich sattu

The humble and rich sattu

A traditional sattu drink is popular in summer for it is a good source of natural fibre and carbohydrates. But dishes using this mixture of pulses and cereals that are ground and often toasted are part of any Bihari household irrespective of the season.


Sattu, called poor man’s food, is not just a part of Bihari cuisine but also of
their culture. The commonest form of sattu is grounded roasted black gram or chana. Other variety includes grounded roasted black gram with barley.

Originally, sattu was made of seven cereals, millets and pulses – maze and barley, black gram, pigeon gram or arhar, green pea, khesari dal and kultha dal.
In earlier times, when there was a lot of poverty in the region, the poor would rely on sattu especially in summer because it was cheap, involved no expensive cost in cultivation and was easy to cook. The ones who got nothing to eat lived on
sattu mixed with water.

However, today it completes the Bihari culture, lifestyle and menu.

Puja Sahu, co-owner for a Bihari restaurant Pot Belly, says, “Sattu is rich in protein and traditionally has been consumed by labourers working in the fields because it is affordable and a wholesome meal.”

Some of the most common dishes made of sattu are stuffed sattu ka parantha, Bihar’s trademark dish litti, which is usually had with chokha mashed aubergine or potato), sattu ke laddoo and makuni roti. Sattu has even made its way into the menus of Delhi’s big restaurants.

Stuffed in paranthas, sattu is also used in litti usually had with chokha (mashed aubergine or potato). Neeraj Sharma, executive chef from Bellagio Restaurants, says Sattu has been associated with Bihar’s culture since long and now it’s there at every household.

“Sattu is a perfect blend of balanced nutrients and is prepared in one of the healthiest cooking methods – roasting. This way, the nutrient value is retained and the shelf life of the ingredients goes up. Also, its high fibre content makes it healthy for intestines,” he shares with Metrolife.

This humble ingredient can be found in many bakery products also but at limited places of the City. “Sattu is used as an ingredient in products like fruit nutty Sattu, sattu tarts, muffins, dutch spiced cake filled with almond paste. But you’ll not find it everywhere,” he says. “Sattu can be also had as a shake by simply mixing it in water and adding a bit of sugar. Or spice it up by mixing ground jeera, mint leaves, salt and a dash of lemon,” Puja says.  

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