Chhatua: A Superfood That All Odias Swear By
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One of the fondest childhood memories that I treasure is that of eating a bowl full of chhatua the first thing in the morning before rushing to school. Although the Odia delicacy isn't a favourite among kids, I loved it. The healthy, filling and wholesome food used to keep me full throughout my tiring dance practises. Fast forward to my hostel days, the same chhatua became my all-time saviour no matter what the situation used to be. Broke? Hungry? In a hurry? The answer to all these questions was chhatua for me. Even today, when I usually crave a healthy breakfast in the morning, chhatua comes to my rescue.

For the unversed, chhatua is a healthy melange of taste and sustenance made with a mixture of roasted black gram, raw poha, lentils and a variety of other healthy ingredients. The raw ingredients are roasted and are blended into a powder before eating. While most ingredients are common in a lot of varieties, the regional varieties have some specific ingredients that are more in quantity than others. The Odia chhatua has more black gram and wheat while the Punjabis prefer more maize in them. South Indians add superfoods to their variety and add millets to it. However, these specifications are subject to change as the versatile food makes it easier for us to incorporate ingredients to it as per our preference.

Although the history of chhatua isn’t very clear, many food historians believe that the food initially travelled with the Brahmins and Jains, who used it extensively due to their dietary restrictions. However, many others believe that chhatua originated during the Indus Valley Civilisation in the Kalinga-Gupta empire. The superfood was an easy meal for the people living in these arid lands where people couldn’t grow much due to poverty and the weather conditions.

If we trace the use of chhatua in ancient times, it is believed that Emperor Shah Jahan used the food as his war food. Even Emperor Akbar considered it to be one of the most important foods that a warrior need. Even Ayurveda swears by the goodness of chhatua as it is an integral part of both - rasayana (rasayana) and pathya vyavastha (body balancing) therapy.

Now that you know the goodness of chhatua, we hope you won’t hesitate to have a bowl full of it whenever you are hungry and craving something that’s healthy and wholesome.