Vigna mungo, the black gram, urad bean, mash kalai, uzhunnu parippu, ulundu paruppu, minapa pappu, Uddu (in Kannada) or black matpe is a bean grown in South Asia. Like its relative, the mung bean, it has been reclassified from the Phaseolus to the Vigna genus. 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 be confused with the much smaller true black lentil (Lens culinaris).
|Dry urad beans|
Black gram originated in South Asia, where it has been in cultivation from ancient times and is one of the most highly prized pulses of India. It is very widely used in Indian cuisine. In India the black gram is one of the important pulses grown in both Kharif and Rabi seasons. This crop is extensively grown in southern part of India, northern part of Bangladesh and Nepal. In Bangladesh and Nepal it is known as mash daal. It is a popular daal (legume) side dish in South Asia, that goes with curry and rice as a platter. Black gram has also been introduced to other tropical areas such as the Caribbean, Fiji, Mauritius, Myanmar and Africa.