Sattu, the saviour: In Uttar Pradesh, NGOs are beating hunger with the desi nutrition powerhouse

Updated on May 04, 2020 10:23 PM IST

Horse gram and jaggery are mixed with water to make the shake that keeps one full for long hours and protects from heatstroke

Sattu, the saviour(Getty Images/iStockphoto)
Sattu, the saviour(Getty Images/iStockphoto)
Hindustan Times | BySwati Chaturvedi

The world is struggling to fight one of its deadliest battles against the novel coronavirus. In the face of this pandemic, Indians across class, caste, region and religion have been supporting each other. With a huge chunk of population below poverty line, the poor have been hit the hardest. Many NGOs and self-help groups have come forward in supplying meals to the needy people.

Sattu, the desi nutrition powerhouse is being served by NGOs to hundreds of needy people in Meerut and Mirzapur in Uttar Pradesh. Sumithra Prasad, founder, Dorai foundation, that is distributing sattu in these cities, says, “Along with dry ration, we started giving bananas and melons to keep people energised.” She adds, “Then we added shakkar paras prepared by single mothers who are unemployed at this moment. Soon, we realised that sattu, too, can be a great addition.”

A staple diet of Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh, sattu is now a global superfood. Prasad says, “We prepare sattu in the traditional way, which involves using an iron vessel in which horse gram is roasted and mixed with jaggery. Then this dry mixture is sieved and grounded into a fine flour. Then we distribute to people residing in the interiors of Uttar Pradesh with no means of livelihood at this moment. ”

The power of social solidarity in a time of mandated physical distancing is immense. “We Indians are socially responsible citizens. All the volunteers have tirelessly worked for the production and distribution of sattu,” she says. Prem Shankar Yadav, speech therapist and a volunteer, says, “Sattu is rich in iron, manganese, and magnesium, and low on sodium. It provides instant energy and also works as a cooling agent in summer.” He adds, “Sattu can be had anywhere, anytime. For migrants, this is the most wholesome dish which is easy to prepare and easy on the stomach.”

Units have been set up in Mirzapur and Meerut, where a differently-abled volunteer, Imran Maliik helps with the production. He says, “This is the most paushtik (healthy) drink one can get. Specially during corona, it is imperative to boost immunity and this is what this drink aids.” “Saatu flushes out toxins and it is considered to be a full meal. It can be had as a shake with a bit of salt, raw onion, cumin, green chili and lemon. It’s a great idea to serve sattu to keep people fit,!”, says chef Nishant Choubey.

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