Black gram originated in India, where it has been in cultivation from ancient times and is one of the most highly prized pulses of India and Pakistan. The coastal Andhra region in Andhra Pradesh is famous for black gram after paddy. The Guntur District ranks first in Andhra Pradesh for the production of black gram. Black gram has also been introduced to other tropical areas mainly by Indian immigrants.
It is largely used to make dal from the whole or split, dehusked seeds. The bean is boiled and eaten whole or, after splitting, made into dal; prepared like this it has an unusual mucilaginous texture. It is also extensively used in South Indian culinary preparations. Urad Dal is one of the key ingredient in making the Idli-Dosa batter, where one part of Urad Dal is mixed with Three or Four parts of Idli Rice to make the batter. Also the dough for Medu Vada or Udid Vada is made from soaked batter and deep fried in cooking oil. The dough is also used in making Paapad, notably the South Indian version known as Appalam and Papadum, in which white lentils are usually used.
It is nutritious and is recommended for diabetics, as are other pulses. It is very popular in the Punjabi cuisine, as an ingredient of dal makhani. In Bengal it is made as a preparation called Biulir Dal. In Rajasthan, It is used to prepare dal which is especially consumed with "Bati".