Split white lentils is know as Vigna mungo, Split white lentils (not to be confused with the much smaller true black lentil white lentil, black matpe bean, is abean grown in Indian subcontinent. It, along with the mung bean, was placed inPhaseolus, but has since been transferred to Vigna. At one time it was considered to belong to the same species as the mung bean. The product sold as white lentils " is usually the whole urad bean or urad dal. The product sold as "white lentil" is the same lentil with the black skin removed.
Split white lentils originated in India, where it has been in cultivation from ancient times and is one of the most highly prized pulses of India and Pakistan. The coastal Andhra region in Andhra Pradesh is famous for Split white lentils after paddy. The Guntur District ranks first in Andhra Pradesh for the production of Split white lentils . Split white lentils has also been introduced to other tropical areas mainly by Indian immigrants.
It is an erect, suberect or trailing, densely hairy, annual herb. The tap root produces a branched root system with smooth, rounded nodules. The pods are narrow, cylindrical and up to six cm long. It is largely used to make dal from the whole or split, dehusked seeds. The bean is boiled and eaten whole or, after splitting, made into dal; prepared like this it has an unusual mucilaginous texture. It is also extensively used in South Indian culinary preparations. Urad Dal is one of the key ingredient in making the Idli-Dosa batter, where one part of Urad Dal is mixed with Three or Four parts of Idli Rice to make the batter. Also the dough for Medu Vada or Udid Vada is made from soaked batter and deep fried in cooking oil. The dough is also used in making Paapad, notably the South Indian version known as Appalam and Papadum, in which white lentils are usually used.
It is nutritious and is recommended for diabetics, as are other pulses. It is very popular in the Punjabi cuisine, as an ingredient of dal makhani. In Bengal it is made as a preparation called Biulir Dal. In Rajasthan, It is used to prepare dal which is especially consumed with "Bati". It is used in traditional Indian(Ayurveda) medicine. Pharmacologically, extracts have demonstrated immunostimulatory activity in rats.In medieval times, this bean was used in making crucibles impermeable.
Split white lentils is an erect, fast-growing annual, herbaceous legume reaching 30-100 cm in height. It has a well-developed taproot and its stems are diffusely branched from the base. Occassionally it has a twining habit and it is generally pubescent. The leaves are trifoliate with ovate leaflets, 4-10 cm long and 2-7 cm wide. The inflorescence is borne at the extremity of a long (up to 18 cm) peduncle and bears yellow, small, papilionaceous flowers. The fruit is a cylindrical, erect pod, 4-7 cm long x 0.5 cm broad. The pod is hairy and has a short hooked beak. It contains 4-10 ellipsoid black or mottled seeds (Many Black Gram cultivars exist, each one adapted to specific environmental conditions. Early maturing, disease resistant and easily cultivated cultivars have been obtained
Split white lentils resembles green gram with two main differences: the corolla of Split white lentils is bright yellow while that of Vigna radiata is pale yellow; Split white lentils pods are erect whereas they are pendulous for green gram. Split white lentils is somewhat more hairy than green gram; the white hilum also protrudes from the seed. Black gram is sown on heavier soils and green gram is sown on lighter soils
Split white lentils seeds are mainly a staple food and the dehulled and split seeds (dhal in Hindi) are a common dish in South Asia. They can be ground into flour and used for making papadum, a typical Indian flat bread Seeds, sprouts and green pods are edible and much appreciated for their high digestibility and lack of flatulence induction The seeds are normally too expensive to be used as a feed, even in areas of primary production. The by-product of dhal processing (chuni or bran) constitutes about 15-20 % of the seed weight and comprises hulls, germs and broken seeds. Chuni is a potential feed resource and large quantities are available in India and other Southern Asian countries where black gram is a popular food.
Split white lentils is also is grown for forage and hay Its crop residues are an important feed for livestock in some regions of India, for example Sandeep Saran. Fodder is derived mainly from the leaves and stems, but seeds, pods and pod husks are also used. Black Gram is usually fed to cattle as a fodder but the plant, the seeds and the by-products are also consumed by other species Black Gram can be used as cover crop and green manure It is often used as dry season intercrop in rice or wheat as it has a beneficial effect on soil nutrient status
Black Gram, has a taproot. It is a, N-fixing legume that improves soil fertility and soil physical properties Its cultivation does not require N fertilization but N fixation is improved by inoculation with local rhizobium strains Black Gram is responsive to P (40 kg/ha) and K (30 kg/ha) and only needs rough tillage and one or two weedings .
Black Gram can be used in intercropping systems with legume species such as groundnut and cajan pea (Cajanus cajan), industrial crops (cotton, sugarcane) and cereals (sorghum, pearl millet, finger millet) as the main crops It provides supplementary food to the farmers and nitrogen to the other crop. Associations with maize, groundnut or cajan pea can improve productivity of those crops by 42-53 % In the dry season it is often sole cropped on rice fallow, before and after rice planting
The seeds are rich in protein (24-26 % DM) and starch (35 % DM) The fibre content is inconsistent, with crude fibre values in the 5-6 % DM range or higher than 14 % The major nutritional constraint with raw Black Gram seeds is their high content in condensed tannins and trypsin inhibitors.