Vigna mungo (L.) Hepper
Bean Family leguminosae (Fabaceae)
Urad dal or whole black gram are the black seeds of the leguminous plant called Vigna mungo. It’s mainly grown in India and used to make the Indian soup commonly known as ‘Dal‘ India is the major producer and consumer of black gram. (PROTA)
Below is a photo of the whole black gram also marketed as Sabut Urad Dal
Here are the common names: Black gram, Urad dal, urd bean, urad bean, minapa pappu, black matpe bean, mungo bean or Haricot urd, urd (French). Feijão urida (Portuguese). Mchooko mweusi (Swahili).
Culinary use of Whole Black Gram (Sabut Urad Dal)
Black gram is popular in Northern India where the bean is boiled and eaten whole. It can also be be split and made into Dal (black gram soup).
The whole gram has an unusual mucilaginous texture, more like oatmeal.
To cook the whole gram, it is best soaked overnight and cooked slowly over low fire until it’s falling apart.
With modern advancements it is now mostly cooked using a pressure cooker.
The whole gram is very popular in the Punjabi cuisine where it’s used to make Dal Makhani(Dal Makhni). The primary ingredients are whole black gram (Urad Dal), red kidney beans (rajma), butter and cream. It can also be prepared with yoghurt or dairy instead of cream.
Black gram can also be used as a seasoning. A teaspoon or two is sautéed in hot ghee at the beginning of cooking to give a nutty flavour, add texture and thicken the dish.