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|Dry urad beans|
Vigna mungo, known as black gram, black lentil [not to be confused with the much smaller true black lentil (Lens culinaris)], white lentil, black matpe bean, is a bean grown in southern Asia. It, along with the mung bean, was placed in Phaseolus, but has since been transferred to Vigna. 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 or urad dal. The product sold as "white lentil" is the same lentil with the black skin removed.
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. 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 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.
It is 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. Ground into flour or paste, it is also extensively used in South Indian culinary preparations, such as dosa, idli, vada, and appadam/ paapad/ papadum. When used this way, the white lentils are usually used.It is excellent for light breakfast.
It is nutritious and is recommended for diabetics, as are other pulses. It is very popular in the Punjabi cuisine of India and Pakistan, where it is known as sabit maash, an ingredient of dal makhani. In Bengal it is made with a preparation named Biulir Dal.
Medicinal use 
In India it is variously called urad, urad dal, udad dal, urd bean, urd, urid, maas (in Nepali), or උඳු (Sinhala, đậu đen Vietnamese, literally: black bean). It is known as as uzhunu (ഉഴുന്ന്) in Malayalam, minumulu (మినుములు) in Telugu, uddina bele (ಉದ್ದಿನ ಬೇಳೆ) in Kannada, ulunthu(உளுந்து) in Tamil, and biri dali in Oriya.
See also 
- Solanki YB, Jain SM.,"Immunostimolatory activities of Vigna mungo L. extract in male Sprague-Dawley rats." J Immunotoxicol. 2010 Jul-Sep;7(3):213-8 Authors:
- 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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