Green Gram-India’s Greeny Pulse

The green gram (also known as the golden gram, mung, mungbean, mung bean, East Timorese as munggo or monggo, mongo, lǜdòu in Chinese, pe nauk or pe ti in Burmese, mung eta in Sri Lankan, đậu xanh in Vietnamese, kacang hijau or katjang idju in Indonesian, and choroko in Swahili) is the seed of the Vigna radiata. In Bengali, Marathi, it’s known as either moog dal (split form) or just moog (whole). It is a native Indian pulse in the Indian subcontinent. In Tamil, it’s known as pāciparuppu when dehusked, and paccaippayaru when whole. In Telugu, the split bean is called pesara.

Description and Classification
This pulse is green in color and small, ovoid in shape. The English word for mung originates from the Hindi word of mung, which is pronounced differently in Hindi. The green gram is one of many species that was currently moved from the genus Phaseolus to Vigna, which explains why it’s still often called the Phaseolus radiatus or Phaseolus aureus even to this day. These nomenclature discrepancies and redundancies are all referring to one plant species, the green gram.

History and Properties
Northeastern India is the recognized origin of green gram, although its usage in Asia also follows a lengthy history. Its popularity roots not only from its nutritional and medicinal benefits, but also from its ability to adapt to inferior soils and drought conditions. The plant’s root also has nitrogen-fixing bacteria that help replenish the ground’s nitrogen content, which makes it an important intercrop in the cultivation of sugar cane and rice.

International Availability of Green Gram
Chinese cuisine extensively makes use of green grams, among many other nations such as the Philippines, Vietnam, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Korea, Japan, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Burma, and the rest of Southeast Asia. In Indonesia, the green gram is typically used to make the “green bean soup” dessert, eaten whole, or eaten as bean sprouts. The starch of green grams can also be extracted to make cellophane or transparent noodles as well as jellies.

Culinary Uses of the Green Gram
There are those who say that the Vietnamese spring rolls’ transparent wrapping is made from green gram flour; however, it’s instead made of salt, water, tapioca starch, and rice flour. Green gram better is also used in the making of pesarattu (crepes) in India’s Andhra Pradesh. On that note, green gram dishes are particularly prevalent in India. It’s either split into a dal or used whole. The split green gram is useful for making payasam, barfi, dal, khichdi, and other sweets. Salted and deep fried moong dal is also a popular Indian snack.

Gram flour is a common ingredient in a variety of friend snacks, while processed green gram, in particular, is a commonly used soup base. Meanwhile, in the Philippines, they have the mongo guisado, balatong/monggos, or ginisang monggo (green gram soup, green gram stew, or sautéed green gram) that’s made of shrimp or fish and green gram. It’s served during Friday evenings in accordance to the Filipino Roman Catholic tradition of not eating meat during Fridays, even outside the Lenten season. Regardless, it can also be served with pork or chicken as well.

Whole and Split Green Gram Dishes
As for whole green gram, it’s a world-renowned sprout. Whole green grams are typically prepared from dried beans through boiling them until they acquire a soft texture. Meanwhile, whole green grams are also used to make Chinese cuisine like tángshuǐ (dessert), or lǜdòu tángshuǐ, which can be served as chilled or warm. A popular Indonesian snack called es kacang hijau also uses green gram, and it has the consistency of porridge.

These pulses are cooked with a little ginger, coconut milk, and sugar. Even though whole green grams are sometimes used in Indian dishes, skinless green grams are more often used. In Kerala, rice gruel (kanji) is typically served with split green gram (cheru payaru), which is usually boiled to make a dry preparation. Green grams are the main ingredient of the Filipino dessert known as hopiang munggo as well.

Health Benefits of Green Gram
Unlike other beans, green gram won’t cause you flatulence because it’s free of gas-inducing substances. As such, it’s a pleasant weaning food for babies and an acceptable convalescent dish (i.e., it’s the perfect dish for patients recovering from a major surgical operation or a recent illness). Even though it’s deficient in sulfur-containing amino acids when compared to other pulses, the protein contained in this bean is nevertheless filled with the amino acid lysine (helps remedy shingles and promotes good bone health).

The seeds are also rich in Vitamin C (beneficial for skin and the immune system), Vitamin B (prevents anemia and many other diseases), folate (helps prevent brain and neural defects), potassium, magnesium, phosphorous, and calcium (strengthens bones and teeth). Besides which, boiling doesn’t affect the protein profile of green grams. Chinese medicine, on the other hand, makes use of green gram as a diuretic as well as a remedy for generalized anxiety, headache, fever, and edema. The green gram is also the go-to folk remedy for mineral toxin and arsenic poisoning as well.

Green Gram Bean Sprouts
Green gram sprouts are germinated by leaving them watered and giving them over four hours of sunlight before letting them spend the rest of the remaining twenty hours in darkness. They can also be grown in artificial light for four hours within a week-long period. These green gram bean sprouts (also known as togue in the Philippines, giá đậu or giá đỗ in Vietnam, tauge in Indonesia and Malaysia, moyashi in Japan, sukju namul in Korea, pe ti pin pauk in Burma, yínyá/yácài/dòuyá in China, and mung biija in Sri Lanka) are popular dishes in their own right.

Green gram sprouts have a variety of culinary uses too. In the Philippines, they’re made into lumpia rolls named lumpiang togue. In Korea, the slightly cooked version of the sprouts, called sukjunaul, are mainly served to people as a delicious side dish. To prepare them, you need to blanch them first then immediately cool them in cool water before mixing in salt, garlic, sesame oil, and many other ingredients. They’re also stir-fried as Chinese vegetable accompaniments to meals, usually with ingredients like pieces of salted dried fish, spring onions, ginger, and garlic added to the mix for flavor.

Nutrition Facts
Servings Size 100gm
Total Fat 1%
Total Carbohydrate 60%
Dietary Fiber 1%
Protein 24%
Calcium 75%
Iron 4%
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because it has not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

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