If you love relishing piping hot fluffy idlis, crispy vadas and tantalizing dosas on your breakfast table and feel energetic for the rest of the day – then it’s time you give a shout-out to our own protein loaded bean- the Black Gram.
Native to the Indian subcontinent and mostly grown in the coastal Andhra Pradesh in our country, these smooth, cylindrical oval shaped black gram beans go with the botanical name Vigna mungo and are popularly known as Urad Dal in Hindi, minapappu in Telugu, Vulundhu in Tamil. Prized as Maa Ki Daal by the Punjabis, these lentils are available in various avatars as whole, dehulled and in the form of split bean.
Black gram grows on an erect, hairy bush with stems diffusing from the base reaching up to 30 to 100 cm in height with trifoliate leaves, sporting tiny, yellow flowers. The fruit looks cylindrical while its hairy pods contain up to 4 to 10 black seeds. This fast-growing plant has in fact made India the largest producer of black gram in the world with 1.5 million tonnes of seeds annually, followed by Fiji, Mauritius, Africa and Caribbean countries.
Used extensively in South Indian cuisine, black gram is a rich source of protein, Vitamin B, potassium, calcium, iron, niacin, thiamine and riboflavin. In few parts of Southern India, eating crispy vadas made from urad dal is a tradition during the harvest festival Sankranti/Pongal, as it meets the protein requirements of the vegetarians, in the winter season.
And when soaked in water Urad dal which exhibits mucilaginous texture is grinded along with rice to make various recipes. Also Read: Pack Your Traditional Breakfast With Proteins
Nutritional Value of Raw Black Gram Dal Per 100 grams
Black gram or urad dal holds a high protein value than most of the legumes. It is also an excellent source of dietary fiber, isoflavones, vitamin B complex, iron, copper, calcium, magnesium, zinc, potassium, phosphorus which offers a myriad of healing health benefits.
Energy 341 Kcal
Carbohydrates 58.99 g
Protein 25.21 g
Total Fat 1.64 g
Dietary Fiber 18.3 g
Folates 216 mg
Niacin 1.447 mg
Pantothenic acid 0.906 mg
Pyridoxine 0.281 mg
Riboflavin 0.254 mg
Thiamin 0.273 mg
Vitamin-A 23 IU 1%
Sodium 38 mg
Potassium 983 mg
Calcium 138 mg
Copper 0.981 mg
Iron 7.57 mg
Magnesium 267 mg
Phosphorus 379 mg
Zinc 3.35 mg
*Source as per the USDA
Black Gram In Ayurveda:
The black gram beans are referred as ‘Masha’ in the ayurvedic texts and is highly recommended for gaining weight and improving immunity. The ancient medicine recommends consuming de-husked urad dal as it is one of the fibre rich Indian food.
In fact, ancient Ayurvedic text Charaka Samhita dedicated a chapter Mashaparni bhriteeya adhyaya to explain about the goodness of these beans. Urad dal is in fact, the only pulse that has more than 10 times of phosphorous than any other pulse and the unique type of protein present in black grams strengthen muscle fibers. Also Read: 5 Dals That Must Be Part Of Your Daily Diet
This humble whole bean serves as a nutritive, bulk enhancer, diuretic, aphrodisiac and pacifies vata. Patients suffering from asthma, paralysis, constipation are recommended to include black grams in daily diet for its innumerable healing properties.
Medicinal Properties Of Black Gram:
Ayurveda describes black gram or Masha as a bean that is sweet to taste but hot in potency, that can calm down and regularize the imbalances caused due to Vata. It also increases Kapha and Pitta and is recommended for men suffering from erectile dysfunction, low sperm count and motility. Ayurvedic practitioners prescribe including urad dal in daily diet for the women of reproductive age to balance hormones and strengthen the reproductive organs.
Our ancient medicine explains innumerable ways of consuming black gram for overall health. Try these easy-to-make home remedies with urad dal.
Black Gram Oil:
30 grams black gram
100 ml sesame oil
In a bowl, add black gram to sesame oil and let it boil
Strain the oil and discard black gram
Let it cool and store in a glass bottle
Use It For Joint Pains:
This oil works wonders for those suffering from severe joint pains or rheumatoid arthritis. Apply and massage it on the affected areas for instant relief. It also used for ward off lice on the scalp. Also Read: 5 Amazing Essential Oils To Treat Rheumatoid Arthritis
Urad Dal, Til and Jaggery Ladoos:
200 grams of urad dal
200 grams of sesame seeds
100 grams of jaggery powder
Dry roast urad dal and sesame seeds separately, till it turns aromatic
Grind into a fine powder. Mix jaggery powder and make into ladoos. Store in a jar for up to a week.
Use It For Instant Energy:
Eat a teaspoonful before bedtime and consume warm milk. This enhances libido, prevents erectile dysfunction and provides instant energy. If you are a diabetic, decrease the amount of jaggery or talk to your doctor, if it is good for you.
Sprouted Black Gram With Milk:
25 grams of black gram
50 ml milk
Soak black gram in water overnight. Dry it and allow it to sprout
Cooked sprouted black gram along with milk and mash well in to a paste
Add sugar, if needed.
Use It For Male Reproductive Health:
Consume it during evenings for energy. Ayurvedic practitioners recommend this milk for improving sperm count, motility and to enhance reproductive health in men and to correct hormonal imbalances in men too!
Besides above-mentioned remedies, ayurvedic doctors prescribe including black gram in daily diet to derive these following benefits.
Heals Swollen Tissues:
The ancient medicine explains that imbalances caused due to Vata lead to inflammation around tissues and joints that can lead to excruciating pain. Urad dal not only soothes swollen tissues but also decreases pain in the joints. Dry roast black gram and apply a warm poultice on the affected areas for instant relief. A massage with black gram oil also provides similar effects.
Improves Gut Health:
Adding black gram to your daily diet adds bulk to the stool, eases bowel movement. It helps in treating constipation, colic and hemorrhoids and improves liver functions. However, do not give black gram to babies as it is heavy to digest and cause stomach pain.
Black Gram is one of the top aphrodisiac foods and it not only increases sperm count and motility but also prevents impotency and premature ejaculation. In females, consuming urad dal dishes during menstruation reduces abdominal and muscle cramps or dysmenorrhea. It also addresses the problem of scanty period and regularizes the menstrual cycle. Roasted black gram mixed with jaggery powder increases lactation in the new mothers. Also Read: Five Top Foods To Stimulate Lactation
Urad dal is prized not only in Ayurveda and other traditional medicinal practices, but also by allopathic practitioners for its goodness.
Lowers Blood Sugars:
Urad Dal or black gram is low on glycemic index at 43. When soaked the glycemic index for every 30 grams stands at 7.6. Being rich in fibre, it aids in slow absorption of nutrients in to the blood and slows down the release of blood glucose.
Reduces High Blood Pressure:
If you are a hypertension patient, it’s time to ensure urad dal recipes in your diet. It is high on potassium food and prevents the constriction of blood vessels and controls high blood pressure. Its rich iron content helps in the increase of red blood cells, thus facilitating the supply of oxygen throughout the body. Furthermore beans , lentils and dals are essential components of the DASH diet that helps in controlling high blood pressure.
Strengthens Nervous System:
Urad dal provides instant energy thus aiding the nervous system in carrying out its activities. Doctors and nutritionists recommend consumption of black gram for patients suffering from facial and partial paralysis, nervous debility etc. Few oils like Mahamasha taila, masha taila, Samisha Masha Taila, Ishruka Choorna can be taken, only under doctor’s supervision.
Builds Bone Health:
Black gram is loaded with a wide range of minerals including potassium, magnesium, iron, phosphorous and calcium which play a crucial role in maintaining the density of bones. It is generally recommended for those low on calcium, iron and other common nutritional deficiencies and women in menopausal state for providing extra strength to the bones.
Studies reveal that regular intake of black gram protects cardiovascular health. It not only lowers the levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) but also prevents atherosclerosis – a condition under which the arteries become narrowed down, get hardened making place for the plaque around the artery wall. The potassium and magnesium improve blood circulation, prevent health conditions related to artery walls and protect overall cardiovascular health.
Black gram works as an excellent diuretic. It helps in flushing out toxins, excess fat and cleanses kidney function. A regular intake also prevents formation of kidney stones.
Urad Dal For Weight Gain Or Weight Loss?
There are two different theories about the potential benefits of black gram for both weight gain and weight loss. While few doctors believe that it helps in gaining weight, other experts strongly vouch by it for shedding those kilos.
For Weight Gain:
According to ancient medicinal practices, urad dal helps in putting on weight. It is a well-known fact that being underweight makes a person prone to many diseases. While bony women are at the risk of certain types of cancers, osteoporosis and other bone related ailments underweight men lack libido, reduced semen volume, lung infections. Underweight also causes other issues like dry skin, wrinkles, arthritis, brittle bones etc.
In Ayurveda, a special therapy called ‘Brihmana Therapy’ is prescribed for those wanting to put on weight. Under this treatment, the patient would be prescribed to eat certain dishes made from black gram and massages by urad dal oil. This treatment aids in natural weight gain, bolsters immunity, strengthens muscles and tissues.
Go for this therapy at least once a week, for three months to see positive results.
For Weight Loss:
And interestingly, at the same time Urad dal helps in losing weight too. For every 30 grams of raw black gram there is 7.4 grams of protein, 100 calories and 3.5 grams of fiber. The fiber can make you feel satiated for longer hours, controls hunger pangs with a very limited calorie intake, thus aiding in losing weight.
Eating dishes made of urad dal of for breakfast keeps you full for longer hours and prevents mid-day hunger pangs.
Black Gram For Skin And Hair:
The numerous benefits of black gram are not just confined to health and nutrition alone. These small black beans are extensively used in skin and hair regimen for centuries.
Urad dal is an excellent exfoliator. It not only removes dirt and dead skin cells but also makes the skin soft and supple. To use it as a scrub, grind soaked urad dal and mix it with milk and make it in to a paste. Gently rub it, let it stay on the face for 30 minutes. Wash it with lukewarm water. Also Read: Homemade Scrubs To Revamp Your Skin
Natural Bleaching Agent:
Black gram works as a natural bleaching agent and lightens the skin tone. Loaded with nutrients, regular application of black gram dal makes the skin looks soft and supple. Mix one tsp of soaked urad dal along with badam and grind it into a paste. Apply it twice-a-week as a face pack to brighten the skin tone.
Lightens Sun Tan:
Urad dal is a wonder ingredient that can cool the body from within. Apply a paste of urad dal along with fresh curd on the face and tanned areas. Rinse it with cool water after 30 minutes.
Black gram being the powerhouse of antibacterial properties helps in regeneration of the skin. Regular application of urad dal paste on acne, removes the scars and keeps maintains blemish free skin. In fact, applying dosa or idli batter on the small burns, instantly sooths the skin.
Makes Mane Silky:
If you have dull, frizzy hair all you need is a ladle full of urad dal paste mixed with curd. Apply it on the roots and wash it with milk shampoo for a smooth and silky hair.
Urad Dal Recipes:
Be it dosas, idlis, Dal Makhani or just as an addition into the tadka, urad dal is a staple ingredient in Indian kitchens. We bring you two traditional black gram recipes that are not only easy to make but come with great nutritive values. Also Read: Dal Raisina: This Is How You Make The Signature Dish Of Rashtrapati Bhavan At Home
Medu Vada or Minapappu Garelu:
2 cups or 250 grams de-husked black gram
1 tsp raw rice
¼ tsp peppercorn
2 green chillies, chopped
Oil for deep frying
Salt to taste
Wash urad dal and rice together. Soak it for 1 hour.
Drain water and grind it by adding little bit of water.
Grind it into coarse batter, transfer it into a bowl.
Add salt, green chillies, peppercorns.
Heat oil in a kadai for deep frying. Grease your hands with water.
Take a small ball of batter, place it on the palm, flatten it. Make a hole in the centre.
Gently drop vada into the hot oil and fry evenly.
Serve hot vada with ginger chutney and sambar.
Urad dal is high on protein and will keep you energized for longer hours. Peppercorns are low in cholesterol, sodium and a rich source of vitamin C, calcium, magnesium and potassium. Adding chillies not only enhances the spicy taste but also provides extra protein to the dish.
Urad Dal Ki Pinnie:
1 cup white urad dal
2 tbsp semolina
1 cup mawa or khoya
1 tbsp wheat flour
1 cup sugar
2 tsp almonds, silvered
2 tsp milk
2 tsp cardamom powder
200 ml ghee
Wash and soak urad dal for 3 hours. Grind it into a smooth paste by adding milk
In a heavy-bottomed vessel, heat ghee. Add sooji, wheat flour and fry till it turns brown in colour
Add mawa. Keep stirring. Let it turn brown in colour
Add urad dal paste, mix well. Keep adding ghee as needed
After 15 minutes, the dal mixture will become thicker
Continue stirring till it become grainy, brown and aromatic
Add cardamom powder and almonds
In another vessel, mix sugar with water and let it melt
Stir in to the urad dal mixture. It turns gooey and thick
Switch off the stove, let it cool down
Take some mixture, flatten it in to round shape. Garnish with almonds
Store in an air tight container for up to 1 week
Urad dal when mixed with ghee provides instant energy and it provides ample amounts of vitamin A, vitamin E. Mawa is a rich source of vitamin D, vitamin B, vitamin K, healthy carbs and other minerals. Almonds are low on glycemic index and provide protein, fibre besides minerals like magnesium, calcium and potassium.
While urad dal or black gram is a rich source of protein, vitamins and various minerals, it is not advised for those suffering from high levels of uric acid. It may prevent formation of kidney stones but at the same time, it can calcify the stones that were already present. Few studies reveal that consuming black gram in high amounts can lead to gallstones or gout. If consumed in excess, it can cause severe bloating and flatulence. New mothers are advised to take this in moderate quantities as it may induce colic in the breast milk fed babies. As black gram is high on oxalic acid, it is not advisable in high quantities for those suffering from rheumatic disorders.
Black gram is an easily available, staple ingredient across all Indian kitchens. Also known as urad dal, it is a rich source of protein and other valuable nutrients like calcium, potassium, niacin, vitamin B, these beans offer rich therapeutic value. Endorsed by ayurvedic and allopathic practitioners alike for its healing properties, its regular intake prevents a sudden spike in the levels of blood sugar, controls hypertension and protects heart. It is a wonder medicine for those suffering from joint pains and various bone-related disorders. A warm massage with these beans soothes swollen tissues. Black gram also serves a potent beauty and hair remedy and aids in battling various skin related issues.
Like in any other ingredient, moderation is the key while consuming black gram.