Kollu (Horsegram)- Nutrition, Benefits and Recipe

Kollu, Macrotyloma uniflorum, (horse gram, kulthi bean, hurale, Madras gram) is a legume native to tropical southern Asia, commonly grown for horse feed and occasionally for human consumption and in Ayurvedic cuisine. It is consumed as a whole seed, as sprouts, or as a whole meal in India, popular in many parts of India. Medical uses of these legumes have been discussed.


Horse gram and moth bean are legumes of the tropics and subtropics, grown mostly under dry-land agriculture. The chemical composition is comparable with more commonly cultivated legumes. Like other legumes, these are deficient in methionine and tryptophan, though horse gram is an excellent source of iron and molybdenum. Comparatively, horse gram seeds have higher trypsin inhibitor and hemagglutinin activities and natural phenols than most bean seeds. Natural phenols are mostly phenolic acids, namely, 3,4-dihydroxybenzoic, 4-hydroxybenzoic, vanillic, caffeic, p-coumaric, ferulic, syringic, and sinapic acids. Both require prolonged cooking. Moth bean is mostly consumed as a dhal or sprouts.

Horse gram seed contains carbohydrate (57.2% w/w), protein (22% w/w), dietary fiber (5.3% w/w), fat (0.50% w/w), calcium (287 mg), phosphorus (311 mg), iron (6.77 mg) and calories (321 kcal) as well as vitamins like thiamine (0.4 mg), riboflavin (0.2 mg) and niacin (1.5 mg) per 100 grams of dry matter. Its nutritional content is partly dependent on soil conditions and the weather. Its less appealing taste has led it to be not commonly eaten.

Benefits of Kollu/Chena

  • This millet can effectively help in balancing blood sugar level.
  • Its low glycemic index has made it a fad among weight watchers.
  • Traditional medicinal texts describe its use for asthma, bronchitis, leucoderma, urinary discharge, kidney stones and heart disease.
  • Ayurvedic cuisine also recommends horse gram for persons suffering from jaundice or water retention.
  • Rheumatism, worms, conjunctivitis and piles are also said to quail before the power of horse gram.
  • It is also beneficial for extracting phlegm, and controlling fever and cholesterol levels.


Here is a creamy and spicy recipe to make kollu soup (Horse gram soup aka Ulavacharu).


  • Horse gram: 1/2 cup
  • Tamarind paste: 2, 3 teaspoons
  • Peppercorn: 1 spoon
  • Cumin seeds: 1 spoon
  • Mustard seed: 1/2 spoon
  • Curry leaves: 1 sprig
  • Coriander leaves: 1 or 2 sprigs
  • Salt: to taste
  • Oil: 2 teaspoons


  1. Soak the horse gram seeds overnight and pressure cook till soft.
  2. Drain the water and keep it aside for later use. (The water’s color will be chocolatey)
  3. Grind the dry roast mustard, cumin, and pepper seeds to a fine powder.
  4. Mash half of the cooked horse gram.
  5. Heat the oil in a pan and shallow fry the curry leaves.
  6. Add the tamarind paste, strained horse gram water, roasted powder, smashed horse gram, and salt.
  7. Add sufficient water and make sure the gravy is not too thick.
  8. Add the remaining horse gram and mix.
  9. Remove from flame.
  • Sprinkle finely chopped coriander leaves over the gravy.
  • Serve with chapatti or steamed rice and enjoy!

Have kollu in your diet and know your progress in health!

References: Link1 | Link2 | Link3 

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