Masoor, popularly known as ‘red lentil’ is a pulse produced by an annual plant belonging to the botanical family ‘Fabaceae’. It is scientifically known as ‘Lens culinaris’ and is widely used as a pulse in India and across the world.
Masoor is predominantly cultivated to process masoor dal which is also as popular as masoor. The pulse is mainly used for cooking curries, stews, soups and various side dishes.
The exact origin of the pulse is disputed. However, based on certain archaeological evidence, it is believed to have originated in Western Asia thousands of years ago from where the same reached Europe and nearby regions. The pulse is estimated to have been first used since more than 10,000 years ago. It was also regarded as poor man’s food.
Masoor can be cultivated on various types of soils. However, loamy soils with sufficient organic contents are the suitable soil varieties that are ideal for the plants that also require cold climates with sufficient sunshine.
The plants grow around 12 to 20 inches in Height and take around 4-5 months to bear the pods that contain the seeds that are consumed as the pulse.
Masoor is high in nutrients as it contains protein, carbohydrates, sugar, fibre, iron, selenium, thiamine, folate and riboflavin. It is purported to lower the levels of blood pressure and cholesterol.
The largest producer of masoor is Canada followed by India, Australia, Turkey, Nepal, USA, Bangladesh, China and Ethiopia. The top exporters are India, Canada and Afganisthan while the main importers are Bangladesh, India, China and the UAE
In India, the largest producer is Uttar Pradesh, followed by Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and West Bengal.
Some of the major trading markets of masoor in India:
Uttar Pradesh (Agra, Dadri, Devariya, Sultanpur)
Maharashtra (Mumbai, Pune, Katol, Nashik)
West Bengal (Kolkata, Darjeeling, Siliguri, Howrah)
Names of masoor in different Indian languages:
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