Mudakathan Keerai Dosai| Balloon Vine Savoury Crepes

The other day, I got hold of some very fresh ‘mudakathan keerai‘ from a vegetable vendor. I was thrilled, naturally, because the greens aren’t very easy to find here in Bangalore.

For the uninitiated, Mudakathan keerai is the commonly known Tamil name for this climber, whose scientific name is Cardiospermum Halicababum. The plant is also referred to as Balloon Vine. The greens are believed to contain a number of health benefits – 1) They alleviate menstrual cramps, general body pain, tiredness and fatigue. 2) They help in treating dandruff, itchy scalp, eczema and a few other skin conditions. 3) They are useful in the treatment of cough and cold. 4) They help alleviate gastric problems. 5) The greens are also believed to be helpful in purifying blood and reducing the effects of anaemia.

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Mudakathan keerai, also called balloon vine because of the balloon-shaped fruits that the creeper produces

In parts of Tamilnadu, these greens are commonly available and regularly used in various traditional dishes, for the many health benefits that they possess. They are used to add flavour to kara kozhambu, sambar and rasam, as well as in vadas and dosas. I have heard of my mother’s mother cooking with these leaves, but Amma herself never has. This was the first-ever time I got a bunch of them, too, and cooked with them.

Mudakathan keerai, when raw, has a bitter taste to it. The bitterness disappears on cooking the greens, though, and they add a nice flavour to whatever dish you use them in. Since I had home-made dosa batter on hand, I decided to use them to make mudakathan keerai dosais, in two different ways. Both dosas tasted equally good, and the family loved them to bits.

Let’s check out the recipes, now, shall we?

Style 1 – Sauteed and coarsely ground

When I asked around, a neighbour taught me this recipe. Here, the greens are sauteed first, with a little oil, and then coarsely ground and added to dosa batter.

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Ingredients (makes 7-8 dosas):

  1. 7-8 ladles dosa batter
  2. A handful of fresh mudakathan keerai (separated from the stems)
  3. Salt, to taste
  4. 1 green chilli
  5. 1 teaspoon cumin (jeera)
  6. 1 teaspoon oil + more to make the dosas

Method:

  1. Wash the mudakathan keerai thoroughly, removing any traces of mud. Place in a colander, and let all the water drain out. Rub the leaves gently with a cotton cloth to remove as much of the wetness as you can.
  2. Finely chop the greens and the green chilli. Keep aside, separately.
  3. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a pan. Lower the flame to medium, and add in the chopped greens. Saute the greens till they wilt completely, 4-5 minutes. Transfer to a plate and allow the greens to cool down fully.
  4. Take the sauteed and cooled down greens in a small mixer jar, along with the cumin, salt to taste, the chopped green chilly and a little water. Grind to a paste.
  5. Add the ground paste to the dosa batter. Mix well.
  6. Heat a dosa pan till droplets of water dance on it. Then, lower the flame to medium, and pour a ladle of the prepared batter in the centre. Spread it out and add a little oil around the edges. Cook on one side for a minute, and then flip the dosa over. Cook on the other side for a minute, too. Serve hot. Prepare all the dosas in a similar manner.

Style 2 – Ground raw

This is how my mother remembers her mother preparing mudukathan keerai dosai. Here, the leaves are ground raw and added into dosa batter.

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Ingredients:

  1. 7-8 ladles of dosa batter
  2. A handful of mudukathan keerai, separated from the stems
  3. Salt, to taste
  4. 1 teaspoon cumin (jeera)
  5. 1 green chilli
  6. Oil, to make the dosas

Method:

  1. Wash the greens thoroughly, ensuring that they are clear of any mud. Place in a colander, and drain out all the excess water. Then, chop finely.
  2. Chop the green chilli finely.
  3. Take the chopped greens in a small mixer jar. Add in chopped green chilli, salt to taste, cumin and a little water. Grind to a paste.
  4. Add the ground paste to the dosa batter. Mix well.
  5. Heat a dosa pan till droplets of water dance on it. Then, lower the flame to medium, and pour a ladle of the prepared batter in the centre. Spread it out and add a little oil around the edges. Cook on one side for a minute, and then flip the dosa over. Cook on the other side for a minute, too. Serve hot. Prepare all the dosas in a similar manner.

Notes:

  1. For both styles, you can add black pepper, ginger, garlic, coriander and/or mint while grinding.
  2. Also, dry red chilli can be used in place of the green chilli.

You like? Now, you know what to do if you ever get hold of a bunch of mudukathan keerai!

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3 Comments Add yours

  1. This is awesome! I have been hunting for this herb in vain from Bangalore where I reside. Can I please be helped with any online procurement of this fresh herb? Can I buy this online from Bangalore? Thanks!

    1. @blogwithvaidehiblog

      I’m not sure if this is available online. I pick it up from a local vegetable vendor near HSR layout. You could try vegetable vendors near your place or Gandhi Bazaar, Jayanagar market and Malleshwaram market.

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