Taste bhi health bhi
October 19, 2012
So what’s the secret of my energy nowadays? The same as any true-blue Bihari worth his sattu. Yes, ‘chane ka sattu’, the pale liquid that packs a mean punch of energy enough to keep the tummy full till lunch, is my breakfast. Every day. I love it primarily because it’s easy to make: Honey, rock salt and a wedge of lime goes into a jumbo glass, quarter full of the pounded gram. A top-up of cold water and a bit of stirring, and I am ready to take on the world, I mean, household chores.
Though largely associated with Bihari thelawallahs and coolies, my tryst with this protein-packed drink dates back to my childhood, probably because it took me no time to drink a glass of it and dash off to the football field. And when I had a bit more time, I used to be served a thicker version of it in a bowl. The hyper-healthy mash also used to contain unrecognisable remains of banana pulp, a spoon of sugar and a cup of milk. I dare not make the porridge now because over the years, I have turned lactose intolerant and shunned sugar.
Sometimes in the evenings, I have another date with the humble sattu, this time, in the form of litti. Served with piping hot chokha or a mishmash vegetable sabzi, I can polish off a plate or two of the crumbly roasted balls with a spoon of pickle, green chillies and raw onions.
The littiwallah, who seats outside our office just beside the tea stall of Jhaji (by now, you have rightly guessed how my life revolves around Biharis to the extent that a Bhojpuri will say ‘Bangali babu ho gail Bihari’), sometimes goes missing, so devotees such as me have to trudge half-a-kilometre to get hold of his fellow littiwallah.
Just as a write this, an outrageous thought flashes past my mind: What if I spike a thin sattu sorbet with a dash of vodka, add chopped chillies and sprigs of coriander and mint before serving it in a martini glass? Of course, after some shaking and stirring!
** To sample the sattu magic, lunch at Potbelly in Hauz Khas Village, apart from Bihar Bhavan in Lutyen’s Delhi