Finally, The Sabja/Basil Seeds

Hi friends, happy Friday!

How is it going? Tracking and waiting for the vaccine these days? Me too!! 🙂 I know it is still a while away but hope keeps me going. What keeps you going these monotonous days?

I admit, this time I went a little wrong about the sequence of my blog-posts. I did not anticipate the interest and the feedback, in the super-seeds. When I wrote about chia, it was supposed to be one post on it but then, I got so many queries regarding the difference between chia and sabja/basil seeds that I did the next post on that.

After the post on differences, many of you told me that I should have done chia first…then sabja/basil seeds and then, the difference between the two. And I realize that would have been ideal, yes. Nonetheless, here I am today, rectifying that error. Thank you for all your love and feedback. Appreciate it… and all your kind words, always!

So, today’s post is all about Sabja or Basil seeds.

Sabja/Basil seeds are also called sweet basil, tukmaria or falooda seeds. These come from a plant called Ocimum basilicum, commonly called sweet basil. These seeds go a long way back in Ayurvedic and Chinsese medicine.

Sabja seeds are tiny, black and look like Til/sesame seeds until they are soaked. Once soaked, they are at their nutritional best. When put in a liquid, they start swelling up immediately with a translucent white film coating each black seed, becoming twice their size! They have a mild basil-y flavour. The seeds also make the beverages a bit chewy as well as add some healthy fibre to them.

Did You Know?

For baking, one can grind the seeds and added directly to flour, rather than add soaked seeds. These seeds can also be used as  a replacement to eggs while cooking and baking. Have you ever tried?

Nutritional Value

1 tablespoon (13 gms) of sabja/basil seeds contain 60 calories, 7 gms of carbs, 2.5 gms of fat, 7 gms of fibre and 2 gms of protein. It is also rich in iron, calcium, magnesium and is very high on Omega-3 fatty acids (1240 mg).

Benefits

  • Natural Coolant – And this is why sabja/basil seeds are put into falooda. They are known to reduce the body heat and have a soothing effect on our digestive system. Perfect for our summer drinks, smoothies, yogurt and shakes!
  • High on Fibre – Since these seeds are high on fibre and absorb a good quantity of water, they help in relieving constipation
  • Pectin – Pectin present in sabja/basil seeds is a soluble fibre which has prebiotic benefits i.e. it is good for our gut health. It can also help in lowering blood pressure if taken on regular basis
  • Blood Glucose Level Management – Sabja/Basil seeds are known to prevent the spike of blood glucose levels in Type 2 Diabetes if taken on regular basis
  • Good source of Calcium, Magnesium and Iron – A great source of all these for vegans especially
  • Weight Management – Might help in weight management as the seeds promote  a sense of fullness due to pectin and water absorption
  • Good source of plant-based Omega-3 fatty acid
  • Rich in antioxidants
  • Used as a thickener for soups, sauces and desserts etc

Industrial Usage

Sabja/Basil seeds are used as a thicknener and stabilizer in various food products such a ice-cream, salad dressings, jellies etc and  also as a fat replacement in mayonnaise etc

Moderation Is Important

Start slowly, with 2 teaspoons a day in your diet to avoid and then increase gradually to avoid bloating etc. Best to have them soaked and in moderation. Check with your doctor/nutritionist if you want to add more sabja/basil seeds to your diet especially if you are on blood-thinning medication or are pregnant.

In short, sabja/basil seeds are generally safe and high on nutritional value. However, if you are looking at these for weight loss goals, add these to your overall ‘fitness plan’ which should also include some sort of  a regular fitness regime and a healthy diet. No excuses to that!

Hope you liked today’s post also. Do check out my Purvottasana (reverse plank or upward plank) pose on Instagram here:

https://www.instagram.com/jillofmanytrades_blogger/

Till next Friday

Namaste, Health & Peace

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