(Vigna radiata var. radiata or Phaseolus aureus)
Mung bean, green gram, golden gram, black gram, sabat moong (whole), moong dal (hulled)
It is probably more widely distributed than any other bean.
The mung bean is small, with a roundish-square shape. The skin is usually an olive-green, but some varieties are yellow-brown or black.
One black variety, called urad or kali urad,
is found in Africa, the West Indies, and Asia.
When split and hulled, it becomes a cream colour.
The green seeds are better known in the West and used mainly for seed sprouts, which are a valuable source of vitamins, minerals, and proteins.
The mung bean is thought to have originated in India, where it is still known as the green gram. The young tender pods are also eaten as a vegetable.
The dried beans are used whole, hulled, or split. In India, when mung beans are hulled, they are a pale yellow and called moong dal
but, when left whole in their green hull, their name becomes moong sabut.
When mung beans are sprouted,
they add as much as five times more food value, as well as making them easier to digest because the starches are broken down into simple sugars during germination.
In addition, the proteins break down into amino acids; and the fats, into fatty acids during the sprouting process.
Bean sprouts are the only source of vitamins C and B12 to be found in pulses.
Mung beans are said to have a cooling and astringent effect on fever. An infusion is used as a diuretic when treating beriberi. In Malaysia it is prescribed for vertigo.
The sprouts should not be allowed to become waterlogged as they rapidly become moldy.
The mung bean came into prominence in the West during an increased interest in Oriental cuisine and vegetarian cooking.
Mung bean flour is not only used as a food but also as a soap substitute and serves as a replacement for soybeans in ketchup manufacturing. The starch is also used to make the Chinese cellophane noodles.
Mung beans are sown towards the end of the wet season in order to ripen during the dry period. The leaves and stems are used to make hay and silage, while the seeds are used for cattle feed.
Because mung beans grow quickly, several crops per year are possible.
Wild mung is the name sometimes given to a plant (V. vexillata) which grows in Ethiopia and the Sudan. It has edible tubers which, when peeled, yield flesh that is good eaten raw or cooked and is outstandingly rich in protein.