Till about a decade back, a mention of sattu in conversation with a non-Bihari audience would be greeted with puzzled stares. Things have changed today. The world around is more health-conscious, and sattu has gained currency for its great nutritional benefits. Rich in minerals, proteins and fibre, low of glycemic index – sattu is said to be the most economical antidote to diabetes.
The better-known style of consuming this miracle food is probably in the form of a cooling drink, but my favorite way is as sattu paratha – flatbread stuffed with a spiced sattu filling.
A bit more about sattu first, before we get on to the recipe of sattu paratha.
What exactly is sattu made of?
Sattu is prepared by dry roasting Bengal gram (chana dal) and powdering it finely. It is similar in texture to besan, which is also made of Bengal gram dal, except that the dal is unroasted in this case. Sattu is darker in color than besan and can be eaten uncooked.
We use store-bought, ready-made sattu, and that works just fine. But if you want to go through the process of making sattu from scratch, you can find the technique here.
On to the recipe!
- Atta –2 cups
- Sattu – 1 and a quarter cups
- Mustard oil – 1 tablespoon
- Salt – to taste
- Garlic – 4 cloves
- Ginger – 1/2 inch piece
- Carom seeds – 1/2 teaspoon
- Green chili – 2
- Ghee/vegetable oil (for a vegan version) – 1 teaspoon per paratha
- Water – for kneading the atta and binding the stuffing
[For 8 parathas of about 5-inch diameter]
1. Get the dough and the filling ready
Knead the atta as you would for chapatis. Keep aside for 20 minutes.
Pluck ping-pong ball sized blobs of kneaded atta, one per paratha.
Finely chop ginger, garlic and green chilies. Place a cup of sattu in a wide bowl. Add to it a tablespoon of mustard oil and salt to taste. Mix well by rubbing the oil and salt in with your fingers till the sattu has evenly absorbed the oil.
At this stage, the sattu might be drier than you want for the stuffing. To adjust that, add water by the teaspoon. Keep mixing it in till the sattu gets the right texture. The filling should be slightly moist, neither powdery nor sticky.
In the end, mix finely chopped garlic, ginger, green chilies and carom seeds into the sattu.
2. Stuff and Roll
Pick a blob of kneaded atta and roll it into a sphere with your palms. Press and flatten it into a disk of about 2-inch diameter and make a depression in it with your fingers.
Press some (about 2 teaspoons) of the sattu filling into the depression. Bring the edges of the dough around and seal the edges at the top, flattening the stuffed dough gently.
[A pictorial demo of how to stuff and roll a paratha, courtesy my mom. The way it’s done for sattu would work for any stuffed paratha with filling of similar texture.]
Roll out the paratha in gentle, even strokes into a disk 5-inch in diameter.
3. On the fire
Heat a flat tava/pan (preferably non-stick). Place a rolled-out paratha on the pan to cook on medium heat. When the surface close to the heat starts spotting with brown dots (about 2 mins), flip it over.
Sprinkle a few drops of oil on the paratha and spread it evenly on the surface. After two minutes, flip again and repeat on the other side of the paratha.
When both sides of the sattu paratha are toasted, remove it from heat and stack aside.
Continue to cook all the parathas in the same fashion, with steps 2 and 3 on repeat for each.
My meal today: sattu paratha with aloo-boro (potato and thin beans curry), ginger-garlic pickle and fresh mangoes.
Stumbled upon this article, which opens with:
Sattu — roasted gram flour — is not just food in Bihar. It is an entire way of life.
That pretty much sums it up.