The Grams

Appears in
On Food and Cooking

By Harold McGee

Published 2004

  • About

The legume genus Vigna, which is native to the Old World, provides the small-seeded “grams” of India and a few other Asian and African seeds. Most of them have the advantages of being small, quick-cooking, and relatively free of anti-nutritional and discomforting compounds. Green gram, or mung beans, are native to India, spread early on to China, and are now the most widely grown of this group thanks to the popularity of their sprouts. Black gram or urad dal is the most prized of the legumes in India, where it has been cultivated for more than 5,000 years and is eaten whole, split and dehulled, and ground into flour for cakes and breads.