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Moth Bean

Introduction
Cereals and pulses are important sources of energy and protein and thus continue to occupy an important place in human nutrition particularly in the developing countries. Cereals and pulses also contribute to minerals and vitamins in the daily dietary especially in the low income families. Among the rural people in the arid regions of Rajasthan in India who subsist on cereals and millets, Moth Bean is the main source of protein and calories.

This plant bears a close resemblance to a small mat owing to its shortness and densely matted leaves. No wonder that is why it is called Moth Bean or mat bean as well. Moth Bean Or scientifically known as Vigna aconitifolia is most abundant in the semi-arid regions of Rajasthan,

India. As this is the most drought tolerant legume, it can easily withstand the lack of water, dying hot winds and other climatic disasters. A highly potent summer annual Moth Bean is also prominently grown in many regions of northern Australia.
 

General Description
the plant has a dense appearance with well spread horizontal branches which bear deeply notched leaflets. The leaves bear a close semblance to potato leaves. The bright yellow flowers develop on the hairy branches to give way to yellowish brown pods. The yellow pods contain about four to nine seeds which are as small as a large grain of rice. The Moth Bean is a hot weather, drought resistant legume and this fact is supported by its well developed tap root system.

The Moth Bean plant flourishes to a full growth in short day lengths. It does not tolerate water logging so much so that the plant hardly requires any irrigation and thrives well in well drained

and light sandy soil. It shows slow growth initially but catches up on the vegetative development rapidly later.

A true beneficial and self-dependent plant can withstand saline soil conditions and a wide range pH range(3.5- 10).

The Moth Bean plant hardly faces any kind of threat from pests and diseases. One of the major reason owing to this may be the kind of environment it is grown in. However due to this reason, Farmers in The semi-arid regions are pleased to grow this plant as it does not require extra care and water and also that it shows positive effects on the otherwise less yielding soil

 

The long term benefits of the plants are as following:

The widespread tap roots and the low lying leaf-covering on the soil surface helps the soil to retain moisture.

The strong roots enable the soil tom stay and thus helps in preventing soil erosion. Not only this but the dense cover also helps in weed control.

The most popular variety of Moth Bean in India is Jadia (IPC MO 943; CPI 96934)and it has

proved to be a satisfactory yielder in south-eastern Queensland as well. However the best yielding variety is IPC MO 950(CPI 96943).
 

Uses
Moth bean seed is used as human food in India and Pakistan. the seeds can be cooked and eaten as a vegetable and can also be processed as dals to preserve them for a long time. And later can be prepared in sprouts and also be cooked as any other dal or beans.

In India, green pods are eaten as a vegetable, and the tiny seeds are eaten whole or split.

Traditionally in India, The seeds are fried to make them into a crunchy snack.

The mothbean incorporated products holige, masala vadai, nucchinundae, payasam, kharasev were

are prepared by replacing the main pulse used in the basic recipe at 50 per cent level and papad at 100 per cent. Also Moth Bean can be assimilated as a flour to prepare south Indian foodie delights like Idli and dosa.

Moth Bean seeds are a good and potential reservoir of Proteins and other essential minerals and vitamins.

Mothbean is one of the major protein food source. It is rich in protein (23.6 g), calcium (202 mg) in it can make it an excellent supplement to cereal diet. Especially for people who are unaware of the problems that mal-nutrition can push them into. Moth Bean is a cheap source of nutrients and forms a specific and perfect diet.

A living mulch, Moth Bean shields soil from sun's extreme heat, prevents cracking and crust formation, retains soil moisture and also prevents losses of organic matter and retards soil erosion as well.

It increases the land productivity and can be used as a second crop as well which follows the main crop.

It has been observed that Moth Bean is an important and vital crop for arid areas. Its multi purpose personality and higher adaptability to uncongenial ecological environments makes it a perfect choice for areas receiving lesser rainfall. However few genetic modifications to improve its varieties might help the crop as a National and International commercial crop.

Efforts are being made on improving all aspects of this Bean to bring its positives out in the entire world. Researches are being made on its adaptation, genetic resources, genetic and agronomic improvements, plant protection strategies, biotechnological possibilities and quality considerations. And it has been taken care of that quality hybrids possessing all essential qualities should be produced

 

Recipes
Moth Bean is used to make many dishes to be eaten with rice or rotis. It can always be sprouted and then be cookes as salads to make a crunchy snack which will make you feel light on stomach.

Following are a few Indian recipes:

Moth Bean Delight (Matki Usal)
Heat the oil, drop in the mustard seeds and let them splutter. Add the chopped green chillies, garlic and curry leaves. Stir fry for a few seconds. Now add the chopped onions and saute on medium heat for 5 minutes or till the onions are lightly browned. Now add the cumin, turmeric and red chilli powders. Add the hot spice mix, jaggery, salt, tomatoes and fry till oil separates. Add the drained moth beans. Mix well and add water just enough to cover this mixture. Bring to a boil. Cover and cook on medium / low heat for 20 minutes or till the moth beans are fully cooked. Garnish with coconut shavings and finely chopped coriander leaves.

Moth Bean Curry
Wash moth beans soaked overnight , drain and keep aside. Heat oil in a wide pan, fry onion till light brown. Add ginger and garlic paste, fry for 1 more min. Add all other spices and fry for 2 min. Now add moth beans and little water. Mix all other spices and salt with moth beans and close the lid. Allow to cook for 3 to 4 min on medium heat. Now add tomatoes. Mix all other ingredients with tomatoes and allow to cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Once you see the gravy become thick or there is no water, remove for the heat. Add lemon juice , just before removing from the heat. Serve it garnished with chopped onions and mint leaves.

 
 


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