Horse Gram

Botanical Information

Botanical Name: Macrotyloma uniflorum

Common Names: Horse gram, Kulthi dal, Madras gram

Family: Fabaceae (Legume family)

Nutritional Information

Horse gram is known for its rich nutritional profile. Here is the approximate nutritional composition per 100 grams of horse gram:

Energy: 321 calories

Moisture: 12 grams

Protein: 22 grams

Fat: 0 grams

Minerals: 3 grams

Fiber: 5 grams

Carbohydrates: 57 grams

Calcium: 287 mg

Phosphorus: 311 mg

Iron: 7 mg


The term “horse gram” is a common English name for the legume known scientifically as Macrotyloma uniflorum. The name “horse gram” is believed to have originated from the observation that horses were fed this grain due to its high nutritional value and ability to provide energy.

Horse gram is believed to have originated in Southeast Asia, particularly in the Indian subcontinent. It has been cultivated and consumed for thousands of years in countries such as India, Sri Lanka, and other parts of South Asia.

The exact origin of horse gram is difficult to pinpoint, as it has been widely cultivated across different regions for centuries. It is considered one of the oldest cultivated crops in India, with references to its cultivation dating back to ancient texts such as the Charaka Samhita, an ancient Ayurvedic text.

Horse gram is well-adapted to arid and semi-arid regions, making it a popular crop in dryland farming systems. It thrives in harsh climates with poor soil conditions and is known for its ability to withstand drought and heat stress.

Historically, horse gram has been an important crop due to its nutritional value and resilience. It has been used both as a food source for humans and as fodder for livestock, particularly horses and cattle. In traditional medicine systems, horse gram is also valued for its therapeutic properties and is believed to have various health benefits.

Today, horse gram continues to be cultivated and consumed in various parts of South Asia, including India, Sri Lanka, and Nepal. It is used in a variety of culinary preparations, such as soups, curries, and sprouts. In recent years, there has been an increased interest in horse gram as a nutritious and sustainable crop, attracting attention for its potential health benefits and adaptability to adverse growing conditions.

  • Rich in Nutrients: Horse gram is a good source of essential nutrients, including protein, dietary fiber, vitamins (such as vitamin C and vitamin A), and minerals (such as iron, calcium, and phosphorus). It provides a well-rounded nutritional profile and can contribute to overall health and well-being.
  • Weight Management: Horse gram is low in fat and high in fiber, making it a filling food that can aid in weight management. The fiber content helps promote satiety, reducing the chances of overeating and aiding in weight loss or maintenance.
  • Digestive Health: The high fiber content of horse gram promotes healthy digestion and can help prevent constipation. It supports regular bowel movements and contributes to a healthy digestive system.
  • Blood Sugar Regulation: Horse gram has a low glycemic index, which means it causes a slower rise in blood sugar levels compared to high glycemic foods. This property may be beneficial for individuals with diabetes or those at risk of developing diabetes, as it helps regulate blood sugar levels.
  • Heart Health: Horse gram is known to have antioxidant properties and may help reduce oxidative stress and inflammation in the body. The presence of flavonoids and phenolic compounds in horse gram may contribute to cardiovascular health by reducing the risk of heart disease.
  • Antimicrobial Properties: Horse gram possesses antimicrobial properties that may help in fighting against certain bacteria and fungi. It is believed to have potential in preventing or treating various microbial infections.
  • Diuretic Properties: Horse gram has diuretic properties, which means it can promote urine production and help flush out toxins from the body. This may be beneficial for individuals with kidney stones or urinary tract infections.
  • Choose horse gram that is clean, dry, and free from any signs of moisture or mold.
  • Look for horse gram with a uniform color and without any discoloration or insect damage.
  • Check for stones or other foreign particles and remove them before storing or cooking.
  • Store horse gram in an airtight container or a sealed plastic bag to protect it from moisture, pests, and contaminants.
  • Keep the container in a cool, dry, and dark place such as a pantry or cupboard.
  • Avoid storing horse gram near strong-smelling foods as it can absorb odors easily.
  • If you live in a humid climate, it is recommended to store horse gram in the refrigerator to maintain its freshness and prevent spoilage.
  • Properly stored, horse gram can last for several months.

Horse Gram Recipes


1 cup horse gram, soaked overnight and drained

1 onion, finely chopped

2 tomatoes, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1-inch piece of ginger, grated

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 teaspoon turmeric powder

1 teaspoon red chili powder (adjust according to taste)

Salt to taste

Fresh cilantro leaves, chopped for garnish

Lemon wedges for serving


  • In a pressure cooker or large pot, add the soaked horse gram along with 4 cups of water. Cook until tender, about 15-20 minutes in the pressure cooker or 45 minutes on the stovetop.
  • In a separate pan, heat some oil and add cumin seeds. Let them splutter.
  • Add the chopped onion, minced garlic, and grated ginger. Sauté until the onions are translucent.
  • Add the chopped tomatoes, turmeric powder, red chili powder, and salt. Cook until the tomatoes are soft and mushy.
  • Transfer the cooked horse gram to the pan and mix well with the tomato mixture.
  • Add more water if needed to achieve the desired consistency. Let it simmer for another 10 minutes.
  • Garnish with freshly chopped cilantro leaves.

Serve hot with a squeeze of lemon juice on top.


1 cup horse gram, soaked overnight and drained

1 cucumber, diced

1 carrot, grated

1 tomato, diced

1 onion, finely chopped

Fresh coriander leaves, chopped

Juice of 1 lemon

Salt to taste

Black pepper powder to taste


  • In a pressure cooker or large pot, cook the soaked horse gram until tender. Drain and let it cool.
  • In a mixing bowl, combine the cooked horse gram, diced cucumber, grated carrot, diced tomato, and finely chopped onion.
  • Add fresh coriander leaves, lemon juice, salt, and black pepper powder.
  • Toss everything together until well combined.
  • Adjust the seasoning according to your taste preferences.
  • Allow the flavors to marinate for a while before serving.
  • Serve the horse gram salad as a refreshing and nutritious side dish.


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