Vigna mungo

Vigna mungo
Dry urad beans
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Fabales
Family: Fabaceae
Subfamily: Faboideae
Tribe: Phaseoleae
Genus: Vigna
Species: Vigna mungo
Binomial name
Vigna mungo
(L.) Hepper
  • Azukia mungo (L.) Masam.
  • Phaseolus hernandezii Savi
  • Phaseolus mungo L.
  • Phaseolus roxburghii Wight & Arn.

Vigna mungo, black gram, urad bean, minapa pappu, mungo bean or black matpe bean (māṣa) is a bean grown in the Indian subcontinent. At one time it was considered to belong to the same species as the mung bean. The product sold as black lentil is usually the whole urad bean, whereas the split bean (the interior being white) is called white lentil. It should not to be confused with the much smaller true black lentil (Lens culinaris).

Black gram originated in India, where it has been in cultivation from ancient times and is one of the most highly prized pulses of India and Pakistan. It is very widely used in Punjabi cuisine and is often referred to as maah di daal in the native language by Punjabis. The Coastal Andhra region in Andhra Pradesh is famous for black gram. The Guntur District ranks first in Andhra Pradesh for the production of black gram. Black gram has also been introduced to other tropical areas such as the Caribbean, Fiji, Mauritius, and Africa, mainly by Indian immigrants.


It is an erect, suberect or trailing, densely hairy, annual herb. The tap root produces a branched root system with smooth, rounded nodules. The pods are narrow, cylindrical and up to six cm long. The plant grows 30–100 cm with large hairy leaves and 4–6 cm seed pods.[2] While the urad bean was, along with the mung bean, originally placed in Phaseolus, it has since been transferred to Vigna.


Vigna mungo is popular in Northern India, largely used to make dal from the whole or split, dehusked seeds. The bean is boiled and eaten whole or, after splitting, made into dal; prepared like this it has an unusual mucilaginous texture.

It is also extensively used in South Indian culinary preparations. Black gram is one of the key ingredients in making idli and dosa batter, in which one part of black gram is mixed with three or four parts of idli rice to make the batter. Vada or udid vada also contain black gram and are made from soaked batter and deep-fried in cooking oil. The dough is also used in making papadum, in which white lentils are usually used.

It is very popular in Punjabi cuisine as an ingredient of dal makhani. In Bengal, it is used in biulir dal. In Rajasthan, It is used to prepare dal which is usually consumed with bati.


Mungo beans, mature seeds, raw
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Sugars 0
Dietary fiber 18.3
1.64 g
Vitamins Quantity %DV
Thiamine (B1)
0.273 mg
Riboflavin (B2)
0.254 mg
Niacin (B3)
1.447 mg
Pantothenic acid (B5)
0.0 mg
Vitamin B6
0.281 mg
Folate (B9)
216 μg
0 mg
Vitamin C
0 mg
Vitamin E
0 mg
Vitamin K
0 μg
Minerals Quantity %DV
138 mg
7.57 mg
267 mg
0 mg
379 mg
983 mg
38 mg
3.35 mg
Other constituents Quantity
Water 10.8

Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient Database

Black gram is very nutritious as it contains high levels of protein (25g/100g), potassium (983 mg/100g), calcium (138 mg/100g), iron (7.57 mg/100g), niacin (1.447 mg/100g), Thiamine (0.273 mg/100g), and riboflavin (0.254 mg/100g).[3] Black gram complements the essential amino acids provided in most cereals and plays an important role in the diets of the people of Nepal and India.[2] Black gram has been shown to be useful in mitigating elevated cholesterol levels.[4][5]

Use in medieval crucible construction

In medieval times, this bean is said to have been used in making crucibles impermeable.[6] The grounds for such claims have been criticized as tenuous.


Vigna mungo is known by various names across South and Southeast Asia. Its name in most languages of India derives from Proto-Dravidian *uẓ-untu-, borrowed into Sanskrit as uḍida:[7]

  • Tamil: உளுந்து uḷuntu
  • Gujarati: અળદ aḷad, અડદ aḍad
  • Hindi: उड़द दाल uṛad dāl, उरद दाल urad dāl
  • Kannada: ಉದ್ದು uddu, ಉದ್ದಿನ ಬೇಳೆ uddina bēḷe
  • Marathi: उडीद uḍid
  • Malayalam: ഉഴുന്ന് uẓunu
  • Telugu: మినుములు minumulu and Uddhi Pappu in Rayalaseema
  • Tulu: urdu bele
  • Urdu: اورد دال urad dāl

Its name in selected Indic languages, however, derives from Sanskrit masa

  • Bengali: মাসকালাই ডাল mashkalai ḍal
  • Nepali: मास mās
  • Punjabi : دال ماش dāl māsh

Other names include:


  • Pant U-13
  • JU-2
  • Type-9
  • Barkha
  • Gwalior-2

Mutant varieties:CO-1 and Sarla. Spring season varieties:Prabha and AKU-4. First urad bean variety developed in - T9(1948).

See also


  1. "The Plant List: A Working List of All Plant Species". Retrieved 14 December 2014.
  2. 1 2 "Post Harvest Profile of Black Gram" (PDF). Government of India, Ministry of Agriculture. 2006.
  3. "Mungo beans, mature seeds, raw". USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference. US Department of Agriculture.
  4. Menon, P. V.; Kurup, P. A. (1976). "Dietary fibre and cholesterol metabolism: Effect of fibre rich polysaccharide from blackgram (Phaseolus mungo) on cholesterol metabolism in rats fed normal and atherogenic diet". Biomedicine. 24 (4): 248–53. PMID 990375.
  5. Indira, M.; Kurup, P.A. (September 2013). "Black Gram: A Hypolipidemic Pulse" (PDF). Natural Product Radiance. 2 (5).
  6. Vijaya J. Deshpande. "Musavijnana or the ancient science of crucibles" (PDF). Indian National Science Academy.
  7. Krishnamurti, Bhadriraju (2003). The Dravidian Languages. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 16. ISBN 978-0-521-02512-6.


  • H.K. Bakhru (1997). Foods that Heal. The Natural Way to Good Health. Orient Paperbacks. ISBN 81-222-0033-8. 
  • M. Nitin, S. Ifthekar, M. Mumtaz. 2012. Hepatoprotective activity of Methanolic extract of blackgram. RGUHS J Pharm Sci 2(2):62-67.
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