The cowpea (Buili Dal) is one of several species of the widely cultivated genus Vigna. Cowpeas are one of the most important food legume crops in the semiarid tropics covering Asia, Africa, southern Europe, and Central and South America. Cowpeas are grown mostly for their edible beans, although the leaves, green peas and green pea pods can also be consumed, meaning the cowpea can be used as a food source before the dried peas are harvested. Different dishes are prepared from Buli Dal a cake-like dish called kozhukattai; Thatta payir in sambar and pulikkuzhambu is a popular dish in Tamil Nadu. Cowpeas provide a rich source of proteins and calories, as well as minerals and vitamins. A cowpea seed can consist of 25% protein and is low in anti-nutritional factors. This diet complements the mainly cereal diet in countries that grow cowpeas as a major food crop.
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