Urad dal is a pulse specifically known as ‘black gram split’, processed from urad popularly known as black gram which is the seed of a certain herbaceous plant. Its scientific name is ‘Vigna mungo’ and belongs to the botanical family ‘Fabaceae’.
Urad dal is mainly used to prepare dal soups, curries, side dishes, stews and snacks. It is also used for certain ayurvedic medicinal and cosmetic purposes mainly to treat certain skin problems like acne.
The dal is supposed to have been first processed and consumed thousands of years ago in India where urad is believed to have originated. However, the exact origin and its early making or consumption are unknown.
Urad dal is processed by splitting urad or black gram beans in half using traditional hand mills or machines and then removing the skin.
Urad dal is high in nutrients and contains protein, fat, carbs, lipids, iron, calcium, sugar, and sodium. It is also purported to aid digestion and weight loss and improve heart, bone and teeth health.
The largest producer of urad dal is India which is also the top producer of urad. Other main producers are Vietnam, Myanmar, Pakistan and Bangladesh. The major exporter of urad dal is also India followed by Myanmar, Vietnam, China and Bangladesh while the main importers are Canada, UAE and the US.
In India, the largest producer of urad dal is Andhra Pradesh followed by Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand and Bihar.
Some of the major trading hubs of urad dal in India:
Andhra Pradesh (Tenali, Madanapalle, Kurnool)
Maharashtra (Nagpur, Buldana, Nashik, Thane, Nagpur)
Madhya Pradesh (Mandsaur, Shivpuri, Damoh, Panna)
Names of urad dal in different Indian languages:
Hindi Urad dal
Tamil Ulunthu paruppu
Malayalam Uzhunnu parippu