GREEN GRAM: A rich source of healthy proteins
अन्नं ब्रम्हेति व्यजानात् ।
Food is supreme or Bramha.
A typical Indian thaali is incomplete without a portion of daal or lentil curry. Although each region has its favorite among the various kinds of lentils available: Masoor, Moong, Arhar, Urad to name a few, and different methods of preparation owing to region-specific tempering techniques; lentils form an indispensable part of Indian cuisine. A comfort food rich in proteins, lentils are in use since the beginning of the Indus valley civilization as per archeological evidences.
The humble combination of daal and rice is a powerhouse of proteins: lentils are high in Lysine, an amino acid that is absent in rice, while rice is high in Sulphur based amino acids- cysteine and methionine, which are absent in lentils.
Moong beans thought to have been originated in India, and are found in a variety of colors ranging from olive, green, yellow, brown or black. Moong is usually grown as a rotation crop along with cereals. In India, Moong beans have been in cultivation for more than 3500 years, and from there on the cultivation spread to southeast Asia.
Cultivation of Moong beans
Moong is an annual crop with a short growth period of 90-120 days. Usually grown in loamy soil with good drainage, they help in maintaining soil fertility in areas where they are grown along with rice and other cereals as crop rotation.
Moong in Ayurveda
Moong is described as Mudga in Ayurveda, classified in the group of Simbi dhaanyas (pulses). Susruta has mentioned it under Vaidala or dicotyledons. It is mentioned as the best among pulses and it slightly increases vata dosa -
वरः अत्र मुद्गः अल्पचलः । (As.Hri. 6/17)
Mudga is astringent and sweet, pungent after digestion, ununctuous, of cold potency, light and alleviates kapha and pitta dosa.
कषायमधुरो रुक्षः शीतः पाके कटुः लघुः ।
विशदः श्लेष्मपित्तघ्नो मुद्गः सुप्यः उत्तमो मतः ।। (Ch. Su.27/23)
Susruta Samhita has mentioned that it bestows clear vision and green colored variety is superior.
नात्यर्थं वातलास्तेषु मुद्गा दृष्टिप्रसादनाः।
प्रधाना हरितास्तत्र वन्या मुद्गसमाः स्मृताः ।। (Su. Su.46/29)
Considered to be a satvik legume, it provides nourishment to tissues, and the astringent taste, cooling nature, and high fiber content help in aiding proper digestion.
मौद्गस्तु पथ्यः संशुद्धव्रणकंठाक्षिरोगिणां I (As. Hri. 6/31)
Soup made of Moong beans is suitable for people who have undergone eliminative therapies, those suffering from ulcers, diseases of throat and diseases of the eye.
Benefits of Moong beans
Moong beans are undoubtedly one of the best sources of plant-based protein: composed of about 20-25% protein of its total dry weight and a rich source of essential amino acids like leucine, isoleucine, valine, lysine. It is packed with antioxidants like phenolic acids, flavonoids, caffeic acid.
Being high in fiber content and low in glycemic index, it is suitable for people with Type 2 Diabetes. It is iron-rich so it is an excellent dietary supplement for infants and children.
Moong beans provide 80% of the recommended dietary intake for folate in one cooked cup, which is essential for the growth of the fetus and so is a very good supplement for pregnant women.
Another notable benefit is that Moong beans carbohydrates are easily digestible, which causes less flatulence as compared to other legumes.
High in bioactive compounds, Moong beans help in detoxification and have potential health benefits like:
- Helps in increasing immunity
- Aids in lowering total cholesterol, protects the liver, and the efficacy is considerably increased after germination
- Moong bean soup has been proven to reduce heat stress
- Moong bean sprouts help fight allergies
- It is packed with macro (protein, oligo, and polysaccharides) and micronutrients (flavonoids, phenolic acids, organic acids), which have potent antioxidant properties
- Moong bean powdered and applied as face pack helps in brightening the skin, treat acne, eczema and relieving itchiness
- Powdered Moong can also be used as a substitute for chemical soaps for those with sensitive skin
Sprouted Moong beans are a common addition in salads, and minerals like sodium, potassium, calcium increase with germination. The anti-oxidant property of sprouted Moong beans is about six times more than regular beans.
Low in carbs and high in protein, delicious, packed with the goodness of minerals like magnesium, iron and copper, along with folates, fiber and Vitamin B complex Moong beans is a superfood by all means, and it is worthy of being a part of your daily diet.
Recipe Using Green Gram
Cherupayar (Moong beans) Thoran
- Moong beans- ½ cup
- Grated coconut- ¼ cup
- Cumin seeds- ½ tsp
- Garlic- 2 pods
- Dried red chilies-2
- Turmeric powder- ¼ tsp
- Curry leaves- a sprig
- Coconut oil- 1tsp
- Mustard seeds- ¼ tsp
- Shallots- 2-3 finely chopped
- Salt- as per taste
- Wash Moong beans 3-4 times and soak overnight for about 8 hours
- Pressure cook the Moong beans with little water for about three whistles, until it is soft but not mushy
- Grind together grated coconut, cumin seeds, garlic, dried red chilies, and turmeric powder
- Heat a pan, add the cooked beans, mix it with coconut mixture and sauté it for few minutes, turn it off
- Heat coconut oil in another pan, add mustard seeds, chopped shallots and fry till golden brown
- Garnish with curry leaves and fried shallots and serve hot with Njavara paal kanji