Chia Seeds vs Sabja/Basil Seeds

Hi friends, happy Friday!

How has it been going? Settling down in the ‘new normal’ with social distancing, masks, work from home, online schooling and all? It is just not the same but one couldn’t help it! Did you have any major plans that got halted or delayed due to this pandemic?

Last week, we decoded one of the ‘superfoods’ – chia seeds, didn’t we? If you missed it, do read it here, to understand what the fuss is all about! After the post, a few of you asked the difference between the chia seeds and the sabja seeds. It is confusing, no doubt but I promise, not after you finish reading today’s post 🙂

In fact, long back when we first shifted to Mumbai, as a part of the ritual that I am sure every newbie to Mumbai follows, we went to Juhu Chowpatty and since it was a part of the ritual, we went to the brightest shop there to taste the famous falooda (a kind of cold dessert with noodles and ice cream). That was the first time, I met sabja seeds. I asked the guy at the stall about the little black seeds and he told me that they were tulsi seeds. I didn’t believe him because I never saw tulsi seeds like those but I found it pointless to probe him further. They looked more like caviar to me but of course, that couldn’t be either.

Long story short, I enjoyed my falooda and happily came back home…and read more about what exactly I ate that day. I was so curious! Turned out, the guy was not too far from the truth. Those were basil seeds! Lot of people still think that the Tulsi is called Basil in English.

However, the fact is that sabja seeds (also called tukmaria seeds or falooda seeds) come from sweet basil (Ocimum basilicum) and hence are also called sweet basil seeds. Tulsi plant is from basil family too but it is indeed different. Tulsi is commonly called holy basil with a different scientific name of Ocimum tenuiflorum.

Chia vs Sabja/Basil Seeds

  • Colour – Chia seeds are a mix of shades of brown/grey/black/white whereas sabja/basil seeds are uniformly black
  • Absorption – Chia seeds take time to absorb water while sabja/basil seeds begin to swell as soon as put in liquid. Sabja/basil seeds also grow larger in volume after absorption with a translucent coating around
  • Origin – Chai seeds are native to Mexico and Guatemala whereas sabja/basil seeds is native to India and Mediterranean region
  • Taste – Chia seeds are bland or neutral in taste and take the flavour of whatever they are mixed with. However sabja/basil seeds impart their own basil-y flavour to whatever they are mixed with
  • Texture – When soaked, chia seeds are soft to eat while sabja/basil seeds are more gluey
  • Consumption – Chia seeds can be eaten raw or soaked whereas sabja/basil seeds can only be had after soaking

Both the seeds have their own set of advantages. I covered chia seeds in my last post. Do you want me to write about sabja/basil seeds in my next one?

I hope that you found the post today useful and now, you would never mix your seeds now. Gotta mix up the seeds while eating them though!

Till next Friday

Namaste, Health & Peace

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