Why sattu is a superfood for babies

Why sattu is a superfood for babies

Sattu is an underestimated superfood consisting of a mixture of pulses and grains. Widely popular in northern Indian states - Bihar and Jharkhand, this protein source has some amazing benefits for the babies.

Often referred to as ‘the poor man’s food’ because it’s simple and cheap, and consumed by labourers and taxi drivers, it is ideal for all-round nourishment of a human body. The uses of sattu is extensive in various dishes. It is usually served as sherbets in summers as it has a near-instant cooling effect on the body. It can be made into balls to be eaten with curry, and it is also a popular stuffing in parathas and puries.

There are different ways of making a sattu. The old school method would involve dry roasting of Bengal gram in an iron vessel and then pounding the roasted gram to a fine powder. Some even use a mix of chickpeas and Bengal gram, which adds to the flavour. You can also add millets (jowar) and dry fruits like cashew and almonds. In Punjab, sattu is made with barley. The sweet dishes are typically flavored with jaggery and sometimes mixed with cottage cheese, ripe bananas and milk.

Sattu is a very well-known baby food. Nutrition researchers, working with children, have tried to enrich the traditional sattu even further by adding soya beans and groundnuts. In fact, distribution of sattu is an integral part of the Integrated Child Development Services scheme of the Indian government.

Sattu benefits for babies:

Depending on the raw ingredients, nutritionally, each variant of sattu will have a different composition. The traditional sattu is made with Bengal gram and wheat in a proportion of 1:3. A 100g of this flour calls for 52.5g of wheat, 17.5g of Bengal gram dal and 30g of jaggery powder.

This recipe provides 359Kcals of energy, 10gms of protein, 55mg of calcium and 8mg of iron for every 100g of powder. Wheat and Bengal gram used in the recipe, provides many vitamins and minerals including folate, manganese, selenium, phosphorus and copper. Thus, apart from the different mineral and vitamins, sattu provides a child with the most important nutrients of protein, calcium and iron, which is essential during the early years of growth and development.

Sattu has a good amount of fiber which keeps the child’s tummy full for a longer period. It is beneficial for gut health and helps regulate bowel movements.

Sattu recipe for babies:

Sattu can be made in bulk and stored in air tight containers, and a portion of it can be used during meals. Adding it to your child’s diet can oomph up the nutrition quotient. You can also add other ingredients to make it tasty.

Sattu Mix Recipe

Black chickpea 25 g
Whole wheat or Daliya 100 g
Ragi 100 g
Roasted gram 25 g
Green gram 25 g
Cardamom 1 pod
Cashew 2-3
Almond 2-3 g
Walnuts 2-3

You need to roast each ingredient separately till it turns brown and crispy, then grind them to a fine power and keep in an airtight container.

When needed take two tablespoons full of sattu and add to a cup of water. Stir this in a low flame till it cooks. Add milk, jaggery for taste or if your child likes it salty, you can wait for it to cool down and add curd before feeding it your child.

Remember, sattu porridge is suitable for babies only after they have started eating on solid food. (after 6 months of age).