Black Gram or we can say “Urad” originated in India where it has been spreading its wonderful taste in many different ways for ages now. Cultivated in almost all parts of India, this leguminous pulse has inevitably marked itself as the most popular pulse and can be most appropriately referred to as the “king of the pulses”. Whether it be the very special “Dal makhni” of Punjab or the Vada Sambhar of South India, the taste rules the hearts of one and all alike. Indian immigrants have popularized the taste worldwide as well.
No doubt, it has managed to impress the entire world with its mouthwatering taste and numerous other nutritious qualities. In Japan, the very health conscious people eat these seeds by soaking them in water overnight and then serving them as fresh bean sprout salad.
Popularly known as “Urad” in most parts of India, Black Gram is a highly valued pulse crop. It is a very prominent member of the widespread Asiatic Vigna crop family. The annually grown pulse opens up many doors of opportunity for its cultivators who exploit these qualities of Black Gram by using it as a rotational crop with other prominent cereal crops. And why not as it provides them to enjoy a double bonanza.
The color ranging from dark black to dull grey distinctively mark the different varieties of Black Gram. Sophisticated with numerous other qualities Black Gram remains unbeatable in nutrients as well.
Importance Of Black Gram
Black Gram is a perfect combination of all nutrients which include 20 to 25% proteins, 40 to 47% starch, ash, fats, carbohydrates and essential vitamins
- Being a proper leguminous crop, Black gram has all the essential nutrients which it makes to turn into a fertilizer. with its ability to fix nitrogen it restores soil fertility as well
- It proves to be a great rotation crop enhancing the yield of the main crop as well. For the best yields it should be grown in the seasons from mid September to October and March to April
- A very short growth and yield period of 90 to 120 days it ensures to be a convenient crop for its cultivators
- It is a very popular pulse and is a vital constituent of Indian recipes and mouthwatering delicacies
- It possesses great adaptibililty powers which makes it a suitable crop even in dry and intermediate conditions.
Diseases Which Harm Black Gram Production
One of the major disease of Black Gram is Tan Spot which is caused by Curtobacterium flaccumfaciens. It can be easily diagnosed by the leaf spots appearing on the plant however when the damage is serious then it results in stunting of the plant, retarding growth of pods and seeds. Therefore this disease severely affects the harvest. Charcoal Rot is another important disease commonly observed in Black Gram. It hampers seed growth and results in poor harvest and even degrading of quality of seeds. Various diseases caused by fungi, bacteria and viruses are generally common to Black Gramal though it does not affect their production much.
Much harm is done due to Sclerotinia, which results in severe seedling loss in stressed crops which are sown amidst cereal crops. Little damage is caused due to different kinds of leaf and stem pathogens for example, powdery mildew and bacterial blight . Other than Regur ( a very popular variety of Black gram in Australia), others are less tolerant to these pathogens. Another well known disease called legume little leaf disease which as the name suggests is very common amongst all legumes. It is caused by mycoplasma, a harmful bacteria
Damage Causing Insects
Certain flower feeders like Green mirids and thrips cause flower and pod abortion which results in less yields and uneven maturity. A variety of caterpillars like Heliothis and Maruca feed on developing flowers and seeds which eventually causes major reductions in seed yield as well as quality. Different kinds of bugs such as the green vegetable bug, red banded shield bug, pod sucking bug and brown bean bug as a method of feeding themselves stick their proboscis into pods and seeds and cause severe damage to the seeds.
However agriculture specialists have scientifically designed a variety of insecticides and pesticides to drive away the fear of all these insects, pests and also to enable the plants to be strong enough to be able to fight all the diseases.
Creamy Black Gram Dal
(Kali Dal Makhni)
Wash the soaked gram and kidney beans and discard the water in which they were soaked. Boil them in a pressure cooker along with the water, turmeric powder, red chilli powder, salt and half the quantity of the following items: chopped onion(s), garlic, ginger, and whole red chilli(es). After boiling for 25 minutes add the yoghurt, cream and half the quantity of chopped green chilli(es). Keep on low heat for 15 minutes. For the tempering, heat the butter in a pan till very hot. Add the cumin seeds and let them splutter. Now, add asafoetida, the remaining chopped onions, green and red chillies, garlic, ginger and fry till the onion are slightly browned. Add the chopped tomatoes and fry again till the fat separates from the sides of the pan. Add this to the cooked gram mixture and mix well. Cover and simmer on very low heat for 15 minutes. Serve hot with cumin rice.
Medu Vada Recipe
Wash and soak urad dal for six hours. Grind into a fine paste. Add salt, asafoetida, curry leaves, cumin powder and crushed peppercorns to the batter and mix well. Heat oil in a Pan. Wet your palms and take batter into the palms. Shape into balls and make a hole with the thumb in the centre like a doughnut. Deep-fry this in medium hot oil until golden brown and crisp. Serve hot with sambhar and coconut chutney.
Urad Kachori (Fried bread stuffed with black gram) Recipe
Drain the black gram and grind to a smooth paste. Mix black gram paste with the remaining ingredients. Add a little water and knead to make a soft dough. Keep aside for 1 hour. Before frying, knead the dough again with well-greased palms and on a well-greased table top. Divide the dough into lemon-sized balls. Roll each ball out carefully into a 5 inch. diameter disc. Heat the oil in a wok (kadhai); fry the discs, one by one, turning them over frequently, on high heat till golden. They will be slightly white on the edges. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain the excess oil on paper towels.
Serve hot with aloo dum