Origin: Black gram is believed to be originated in India. It has been in cultivation since the ancient times and is one of the most highly prized pulses of India and Pakistan. Black gram is widely used in India and is one of the treasured recipes of the Punjabi community in India. The Coastal Andhra region in Andhra Pradesh is famous for the black gram. The Guntur District ranks first in Andhra Pradesh for the production of black gram. Black gram has also been introduced to other tropical areas such as the Caribbean, Fiji, Mauritius, and Africa, mainly by Indian immigrants.
In fact, ancient Indian texts describe recipes of dal that were served to guests at celebratory meals. It is believed that special dal served at Chandragupta Maurya’s wedding back in 303 BC was the precursor of ghugni – a lentil preparation that is still very popular in east India and can be often found being sold in street-side shops as a breakfast option.
In medieval India, it was the revival of the dum pukht technique (slow cooking in steam) that raised the stature of dal, especially chana dal (Bengal gram), in the royal menu. So much so that in years to follow, serving any other dal except chana dal to the Emperor was considered a suicidal move by the royal cooks.
Scientifically: Botanically, it is called Vigna mung and belongs to the family of Fabaceae. The plant is erect, sub-erect or trailing, densely hairy, annual bush. The taproot produces a branched root system with smooth, rounded nodules. The pods are narrow, cylindrical and up to six cm long. The plant grows 30–100 cm with large hairy leaves and 4–6 cm seed pods. While the urad bean was, along with the mung bean, originally placed in Phaseolus, it has since been transferred to Vigna.
Usage: Black gram is considered to be very nutritious as it contains high levels of protein, potassium, calcium, iron, niacin, Thiamine and riboflavin. Black gram is mostly consumed as daal in India and there is a popular dish called Daal Makhni. It is used in different cuisines all over the world. These lentils are rich in fiber and are great for digestion. It helps in keeping blood cholesterol levels in check. It helps in improving bone health. Black grams are also great in keeping skin problems at bay.
Below are some DIY with the black gram for clear skin:
- Take two tablespoons of soaked black gram and blend them in a coarse paste with some raw milk. Use this mask as a scrub and gently massage into the skin. Rinse after 5-10 minutes. This mask helps in removing dead skin and gives a refreshed skin.
- Soak 2-3 tablespoon of black grams with 6-8 almonds overnight. Blend them into a fine paste. Apply this paste on to the face for 8-10 minutes. Gently massage and wash it off. This face mask promotes a healthy glow.
- Take a tablespoon of black gram powder and add some yogurt to make a paste. Apply this mixture on the face and let it sit for 15 minutes. This mask helps in removing sun tan and pigmentation.
- Take some black gram powder and add some lime juice to it. Apply this mixture on the face and let it dry for 10 minutes. This mask helps in removing age spots.