Vigna mungo, the black gram, urad bean, mash kalai, uzhunnu parippu, ulundu paruppu, minapa pappu, Uddu (in Kannada) or black matpe is a bean grown in South Asia. Like its relative, the mung bean, it has been reclassified from the Phaseolus to the Vigna genus. 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 be confused with the much smaller true black lentil (Lens culinaris).

Vigna mungo
Black gram.jpg
Dry urad beans
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Fabales
Family: Fabaceae
Subfamily: Faboideae
Genus: Vigna
V. mungo
Binomial name
Vigna mungo
  • Azukia mungo (L.) Masam.
  • Phaseolus hernandezii Savi
  • Phaseolus mungo L.
  • Phaseolus roxburghii Wight & Arn.

Black gram originated in South Asia, where it has been in cultivation from ancient times and is one of the most highly prized pulses of India. It is very widely used in Indian cuisine. In India the black gram is one of the important pulses grown in both Kharif and Rabi seasons. This crop is extensively grown in southern part of India, northern part of Bangladesh and Nepal. In Bangladesh and Nepal it is known as mash daal. It is a popular daal (legume) side dish in South Asia, that goes with curry and rice as a platter. Black gram has also been introduced to other tropical areas such as the Caribbean, Fiji, Mauritius, Myanmar and Africa.


It is an erect, suberect or trailing, densely hairy, annual bush. 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 dal was, along with the mung bean, originally placed in Phaseolus, it has since been transferred to Vigna.[citation needed]


Crispy masala dosa made from batter
Dal makhani, a popular Indian dish with Vigna mungo as its main ingredient
Kalai ruti, breakfast served with different vortas and chicken curry in Rajshahi, Bangladesh
Idli and medu vada, a very common breakfast in South India

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 kalai ruti, 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)
Dietary fiber18.3
1.64 g
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)
628 μg
0 mg
Vitamin C
0 mg
Vitamin E
0 mg
Vitamin K
0 μg
138 mg
7.57 mg
267 mg
0 mg
379 mg
983 mg
38 mg
3.35 mg
Other constituentsQuantity

Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA FoodData Central

Its nutrition numbers when raw differ from when cooked. When raw 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 is also very high in folate (628 µg/100g raw, 216 µg/100g cooked).[4]

Use in medieval crucible constructionEdit

In medieval India, this bean is said to have been used in making crucibles impermeable.[5]


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:[6]

  • Caribbean Hindustani/Fiji Hindi: उरदी दाल urdi dal
  • Gujarati: અળદ aḷad, અડદ aḍad
  • Punjabi: ਮਾਂਹ ਦੀ ਦਾਲ, "mānha di dāl"
  • Hindi: उड़द दाल uṛad dāl, उरद दाल urad dāl
  • Kannada: ಉದ್ದು uddu, ಉದ್ದಿನ ಬೇಳೆ uddina bēḷe
  • Marathi/Konkani: उडीद uḍid
  • Malayalam: ഉഴുന്ന് uẓhunnu
  • Tamil: உளுந்து uḷuntu, ulundu, ulutham paruppu
  • 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:

  • Assamese: মাটিমাহ matimah, মাটিকলাই matikolai
  • Bengali: মাসকালাই ডাল mashkalai ḍal
  • Nepali: Kalo Daal( black lentil), मास mās
  • Punjabi : دال ماش dāl māsh

Other names include:


Pant Urd 31 (PU-31) Lam Black Gram 884 (LBG 884) Trombay Urd (TU 40)

  • 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 alsoEdit


  1. ^ "The Plant List: A Working List of All Plant Species". Retrieved 14 December 2014.
  2. ^ a b "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. ^ Brink, Martin (2006). Plant resources of tropical Africa 1: cereals and pulses. Wageningen: PROTA Foundation. pp. 206–207. ISBN 978-90-5782-170-7.
  5. ^ Vijaya J. Deshpande. "Musavijnana or the ancient science of crucibles" (PDF). Indian National Science Academy.
  6. ^ Krishnamurti, Bhadriraju (2003). The Dravidian Languages. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 16. ISBN 978-0-521-02512-6.


  • H.K. Bakhru (1997). Foods that Heal. The Natural Way to Good Health. Orient Paperbacks. ISBN 978-81-222-0033-1.
  • M. Nitin, S. Ifthekar, M. Mumtaz. 2012. Hepatoprotective activity of Methanolic extract of blackgram. RGUHS J Pharm Sci 2(2):62-67.

External linksEdit