Urad specifically known as black gram is the seeds produced by a certain herbaceous plant scientifically known as ‘Vigna mungo’ belonging to the botanical family ‘Fabaceae’. It is consumed as a pulse mostly in South Asia.
pulse is used mainly to process urad dal and to make soups, stews, curries and side dishes, especially in Southern parts of India. It is also used for cosmetic purposes and to prepare certain ayurvedic medicines. It is one of the most expensive pulses in India.
Urad is supposed to have originated in India, and based on certain ancient Indian texts like the Rigveda and Yajurveda it has been in use since thousands of years ago. However, the exact time as to when the pulse was used for the first time is unknown.
Urad can be cultivated on a wide variety of soils like other kharif seasonal pulses. But well-drained loam soils are the ideal ones for plants that require hot and humid conditions and cannot be grown on saline and alkaline soils.
Urad plants are annual bushes that grow 30-100 cm in height with large hairy leaves. The plants normally take around 4-5 months to produce the pods that contain cylindrical oval shaped seeds with black coloured skin that gives the same its name.
Urad contains more protein compared to other legumes. It also contains fibre, iron, calcium, copper, magnesium, potassium, zinc, phosphorus and vitamin B complex. It is purported to aid digestion, boost energy, reduce pain and improve skin, bone and heart health.
The largest producer of urad in the world is India which contributes around 70 per cent to the world’s total production of the same. Other main producers are China, Vietnam, Nepal, Myanmar, Bangladesh and Pakistan. The largest exporter also is India followed by China and Vietnam while the main importers are the US, Canada and UAE.
In India, the largest producer of urad is Madhya Pradesh, followed by Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Sikkim and Jharkhand.
Some of the major trading markets of urad in India:
Madhya Pradesh (Damoh, Panna, Shivpuri, Mandsaur)
Andhra Pradesh (Kurnool, Tenali, Madanapalle)
Uttar Pradesh (Agra, Azamgarh, Allahabad, Bilsi)
Names of urad in different Indian languages: