You read that right: chia seeds and sabja seeds are not the same. Ignore the wisdom that tells you otherwise. Set aside the surface similarities, the fact that both chia and sabja are recommended for weight loss and as a source of nutrients/dietary fiber. Here’s a rundown of the differences between these two wonder foods.
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Both chia and sabja originate from the aromatic mint family (Lamiaceae) – that explains their resemblance.
They part ways in the specifics:
A quick chromatic scrutiny is all it takes to tell the seeds apart.
I ran this experiment with a teaspoon each of chia and sabja seeds, soaked separately in three tablespoons of water.
chia seeds: Take their time to absorb water. You see a noticeable swelling only after a while.
sabja seeds: Begn to swell at the touch of water. A translucent white film coats each black seed as they swell. Also, sabja seeds grow to a larger volume than chia seeds.
They may both look like sesame or nigella seeds when dry, but when soaked, they come into their their own distinctive selves.
chia seeds: Soft to bite after they have soaked in liquidsabja seeds: More gluey than chia seeds when soaked in liquid
chia seeds: Bland/neutral, take on the flavor of whatever they are eaten with. A popular way to eat chia is in pudding form with almond milk or coconut milk, along with with fruit toppings. sabja seeds: Fragrant. When added to desserts or lemonade, they impart their own basilly touch.
Can we substitute chia seeds with sabja seeds? For most recipes, I would say not. Sabja seeds are fine as garnish in drinks or desserts, not as base for pudding – a role that suits chia seeds beautifully. Likewise, you may gulp down Chia Seed Lemonade keeping the health benefits in mind, but I doubt if you would enjoy the choice of chia over sabja in the drink.
Specific to India: the last I checked in stores, this is how the prices compared:
|Seed Type||Cost||Cost Per Gram|
|Chia Seeds||Rs.285 for a 150 gram pack||Rs. 1.90|
|Sabja Seeds||Rs.40 for a 100 gram pack||Rs.0.40|
Verdict: At the time of writing, chia seeds are over four times more expensive than sabja seeds.
A few interesting recipes from around the web. Enjoy!
Check out other articles that talk about food terminology:
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