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Vigna mungoblack gramurad bean,minapa pappumungo 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 the Punjabi Cuisine and is often referred to as “maa di daal” in the native language by Punjabis. The Coastal Andhra region in Andhra Pradesh is famous for black gram after paddy. 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 CaribbeanFijiMauritius, and Africamainly 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.



Idli and medu vada, a very common breakfast in South India


Crispy Masala Dosa made from batter


Dal makhani, a popular Indian dish with Vigna mungo as its main ingredient

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 ingredient in making the idlidosa batter, where one part of black gram is mixed with three or four parts of idli rice to make the batter. Also the dough for vada or udid vada is 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 the Punjabi cuisine, as an ingredient of dal makhani. In Bengal, it is made as a preparation called Biulir Dal. In Rajasthan, It is used to prepare dal which is especially 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
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


138 mg


7.57 mg


267 mg


0 mg


379 mg


983 mg


38 mg


3.35 mg

Other constituents
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). 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.Black gram has been shown to be useful in mitigating elevated cholesterol levels