Moth beans or Matki is a staple legume in various cuisines across India, often consumed either as a sprout or in the cooked form. Quite popular in the Maharashtrian cuisine, Moth beans are also known as mat bean, dew bean or Turkish gram. These tiny beans oblong in shape, available in brown, reddish brown and green colours are rich in protein and go with the botanical name Vigna aconitifolia.
Native to India, Moth bean is an annual herbaceous creeper plant that grows approximately up to 40 cm in height, sporting yellow flowers which later develop into yellow-brown pods around 2 to 3 inches in length. A drought resistant crop, moth beans are cultivated extensively in those areas with a scanty rainfall, as it effectively combats soil erosion. Though it is cultivated largely in India, moth beans are also highly popular in Africa, Australia, United States, Thailand and other parts of the world both for human consumption and as a forage. In India, moth beans that usually grow on its own or intercropped with various other cereals or a rotation with cotton crop carries, several vernacular names. In Tamil, it is known as Payaru, Telugu Kunkumapesalu, Vanmug in Bengali, Madaki in Kannada and Mot in Hindi.
Thanks to its highly nutritional content, moth bean or matki became quite popular in the recent years. This tiny legume in raw form contains 343 calories with 23 grams of protein, 62 grams of carbohydrate and 1.6 grams of fat. Since it also contains certain antinutritional components, it is advisable to soak these pulses first for at least 6 hours and cook completely to make protein more digestible.
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 1,436 kJ (343 kcal)
Carbohydrates 61.5 g
Fat 1.6 g
Protein 22.9 g
Thiamine (B1) 0.6 mg
Riboflavin (B2) 0.1 mg
Niacin (B3) 2.8 mg
Pantothenic acid (B5) 0.5 mg
Vitamin B6 0.4 mg
Calcium 150 mg
Iron 10.8 mg
Folate (B9) 649 μg
Magnesium 381 mg
Manganese 1.8 mg
Phosphorus 489 mg
Potassium 1191 mg
Sodium 30 mg
Zinc 1.9 mg
Matki In Ayurveda:
Though matki is being highly recommended by the nutritionist community in the recent years moth beans are in fact a traditional legume and the uses, benefits are mentioned in various Ayurvedic texts. Known as Makushta, Vanamudga, Makushtaka, Mukushtaka, these pulses are described as sweet to taste, absorbent, easy to digest, dry but can cause constipation. It increases vaata dosha and balances kapha and pitha doshas.
How Do You Eat Matki?
Moth beans are a little hard to cook, so it is strongly recommended to soak them for at least 6 hours or overnight.
Many recipes require parboiled moth beans as it makes the dish tastier and easy to cook.
Fully Boiled Method:
Pressure cook soaked matki for up to 5 whistles. Drain all the water and blend it in a mixer grinder into a coarse paste for using it in various recipes.
Roasted matki flour is easily available in market or can be made at home by pulsing it in mixer.
Benefits of Moth Beans:
Matki is a rich source of protein, vitamins and minerals and it should be a part of your daily diet plan. Including moth beans into your food offers a plethora of health benefits.
If you are suffering from osteoporosis or worried about weakening of bones, all you need is matki in your regular diet. Loaded with calcium and phosphorous, this tasty legume not only prevents bone related disorders but also strengthens them.
With entire world fighting deadly coronavirus, robust immunity is need of the hour. Ensure adding moth beans to your diet plan at least thrice a week for building a body mechanism that fights against viruses, bacteria and fungi. Zinc in these pulses boosts the immune system and prevents various health problems.
Aids in Weight Loss:
Who said vegetarians do not have many choices when it comes to protein-based food? Plant based proteins are getting increasingly popular and moth beans certainly top the list in this category. Moth beans are an amazing source of protein that not only repair muscles but also aid in losing weight without compromising on the health and stamina.
Regulates Bowel Movements:
Just like moong dal, matki is also a good source of digestive fibre which plays a major role in regulating bowel movement. Moth beans not only prevent constipation but also help in flushing out toxins.
Research studies suggest that daily intake of moth beans helps in reducing stress and sudden bout of anxiety. Zinc, one of the main components in this legume plays a crucial role in bringing down the levels of anxiety and stress.
Powerhouse of Vitamin B:
Vitamin B is responsible for the proper functioning of human body. It is a well-known fact that a majority of vegetarians cannot meet their vitamin B requirements through diet. However, moth beans being the powerhouse of various B complex vitamins improve cognitive function, up the energy levels and improve cell metabolism.
Heart a vital organ and our diet plays an imperative role in its optimum functioning. High blood pressure, elevated levels of cholesterol can cause numerous cardiovascular problems that need immediate attention in the form of medication, lifestyle changes and food. Doctors suggest consuming fibre rich diet to heart patients and make it a habit to include moth beans in your diet for bringing down the levels of cholesterol and regulating blood pressure naturally.
Moth Beans for Skin:
And if you thought if this versatile pulse is only good for your inner wellbeing, think again. Moth bean or Vigna aconitifolia extract is the next big thing in the beauty market, all thanks to its retinol mimicking properties.
What Is Vigna aconitifolia Extract?
Being promoted as an all-natural retinol alternative, the extract of the moth beans according to the beauty experts has the ability to penetrate into the skin, preventing the signs of aging. It triggers the production of collagen, revamps the cells, shields the skin from free radicals even while protecting it from harmful UV rays.
This extract is also loaded with other phenolic components like caffeic acid, cinnamic acid, ferulic acid and kaempferol with strong antioxidant properties for preventing sudden outbreak of acne, blisters and rash. Dermatologists suggest gently massaging the skin with this extract for exfoliating the dead skin cells, clear pores making soft and smooth.
Is Moth and Moong The Same?
Well, these both varieties look very similar and are legumes. While moong dal is green in colour, moth beans are brown. These versatile pulses in oblong shape come with equal amounts of dietary fibre, protein, and a whole range of vitamins and minerals. While moong dal takes lesser time to get soften and cook after soaking in water, moth beans require longer hours. It is easy to sprout these legumes and can be added to a wide range of salads, curries and stews.
How Do You Sprout Matki?
Sprouted legumes come with numerous health benefits and are highly recommended by nutritionists for getting your daily dose of vitamins, minerals without compromising on the taste. One can include these sprouted nutritional wonders as a part of their breakfast to feel satiated for longer hours and kill those midday hunger pangs.
In states like Maharashtra, Rajasthan eating sprouted matki is a practice of sorts. And this is how you do it.
100 grams moth beans
- In a large bowl, wash matki under running water to clear all impurities and small stones
- Soak it in clean water overnight
- Next morning, drain out all water and let it dry a bit
- In a clean white cloth, place these soaked matki and tie it tight
- Place it in a dry, warm place for proper ventilation for the moth beans to sprout
- Store these sprouted moth beans in a dry, airtight container. You can consume it directly or add it to salads
What Are The Culinary Uses of Moth Beans?
- Matki can be used in various forms be it in salads, stews or curries. Matki dal is a common recipe served in the Indian households along with rice or rotis.
- Sprouted matki is a must-have in Maharashtrian cuisine, in the dishes like Misal Pav and Usal.
- In Europe and North America, moth bean soup is served by adding some natural herbs to it.
Matki is a unique ingredient, and it can be cooked in innumerable ways. Try these easy, delicious recipes to enjoy the wholesome benefits of moth beans.
1 cup sprouted and boiled matki
1 tsp oil
1 cup cooked basmati rice
1 tsp jeera or cumin
1 onion, finely chopped
1 tsp ginger, garlic paste
½ cup green capsicum, finely chopped
½ tsp turmeric powder
½ tsp coriander powder
½ tsp chilli powder
1 tsp fresh coriander leaves, chopped finely
Salt to taste
In a pan, add oil. Let it heat and add cumin, cloves, onion, ginger garlic paste and capsicum.
Fry till veggies turn soft. Add turmeric, chilli and coriander powders.
Add sprouted matki to it and sauté it for 2 minutes.
Mix in rice and salt, stir gently.
Simmer it on low flame for 2 minutes. Garnish with fresh coriander and serve hot.
Sprouted moth bean are a rich source of calcium and dietary fibre which play a prominent role in building stronger muscles and protecting the gut health. Jeera, ginger, coriander powder aid in digestive health, while rice loaded with carbohydrates provides instant energy. This healthy recipe keeps you satiated for longer hours without compromising on the taste.
Matki dal is a common dish that is served in states like Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Punjab. There are many variations to this super comforting food and here is how they make it in Punjab.
1 cup Matki, cleaned and soaked for at least 8 hours
1 tsp oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 tomato, finely chopped
1 green chilli, slit
1 inch ginger, sliced thin
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp jeera
1 tsp amchur
Salt to taste
In a pressure cooker, heat oil. Add jeera, onions, ginger, garlic. Fry for 2 minutes before adding onions, tomatoes and green chilli.
Sauté till they turn translucent. Add turmeric, chilli, salt and amchur powders. Add 2 cups of water and allow it boil.
Add soaked moth beans to this mixture and pressure cook for 4 to 5 whistles on medium flame.
Serve it hot with rice or roti.
Matki when consumed in the form of dal serves as a great protein. Mixing it with onion, garlic and tomatoes not only makes it tastier but ensures better absorption of all the nutrients. Turmeric is a natural antioxidant that fights free radicals and prevents cancer while amchur being a rich source of vitamin A, C, D, B6 and beta carotenes flushes out toxins and protects heart.
There are not many contraindications when it comes to consuming moth beans. However, do not overdo it as it can cause severe stomach pain or constipation. In few people it may lead to digestive issues. Make sure to clean all impurities like sand, mud or small stones in these legumes before soaking them. Ensure sprouting it in clean cloth and use within a day or two, while fresh. Pressure cook for at least 4 whistles for these legumes to soften completely.
Moth beans or matki are unique yet staple legumes in Indian cuisine. Loaded with protein, calcium and an array of vitamins, minerals, these tiny pulses oblong in shape should be a part of your daily meal plan for combating various health issues. Consume matki for losing weight, building muscle, strengthening bones, reducing stress and keep your heart healthy. In states like Maharashtra, Punjab and Rajasthan matki is used in several traditional food preparations including soups, curries, stews. Eat a fistful of sprouted moth beans in the morning to meet your daily calcium requirements. The extract from these legumes has taken the beauty world by storm in the recent years, thanks to its retinol-like properties. The extract prevents signs of aging, clears acne, rash and other skin disorders.
However, consume it in moderate amounts for avoiding indigestion and constipation. If you are pregnant or lactating mother, do talk to your doctor or nutritionist if it is good for you.