As long as I remember, I’ve seen my mom make kanji in spring. What I loved about it as a child was the savoury, tangy, spicy flavour and the purple tongue and lips it left me with after drinking.
Ever wondered how the generations of our grandparents and parents used to digest all those butter fried parathas, rich gravies and indulgent foods so well, while we can’t! They included a lot of unprocessed and fermented things in their diet in routine that we have quit.
I am actually the only person among my relatives, friends and acquaintances who still makes this probiotic, fermented drink religiously every spring and I don’t want this tradition to end with me in my family. So quite selfishly I have written down this recipe for my daughters, nephews and nieces, hoping that someone will carry on the legacy and I’m posting this in a hope to strike a chord with someone else out there in search of cherished traditional recipes.
The health advantages of fermented foods are so amazing that if we realised them, maybe we wouldn’t ignore them so easily. They preserve nutrients in food, make the friendly bacteria ( gut flora) grow and continue their colonies in our stomachs, which help the digestive enzymes in breaking down and digesting foods. They also revive the
intestinal flora damaged by the chemicals in packaged foods.
There are so many other easy to make recipes from cultures all around the world that we can include in our daily diet to stay away from stomach troubles and medicines; homemade yogurt, sourdough bread, kimchi, sauerkraut, miso sauce and pickled vegetables are just a few delicious and easy suggestions.
1 kg black carrots
3 litres water
3 teaspoons salt or to taste
2 teaspoons red chilli powder or to taste
3 teaspoons mustard seeds
This Is What You Do :
Boil water and set aside to let it cool while you prepare carrots.
Wash and pat dry the carrots on kitchen towel. Peel and cut into thin strips.
Add carrots, salt, red chillies and mustard seeds to an earthenware pot ( ghara), glass jar,a stainless steel deep pot or any other nonreactive pan with a lid.
Pour water over everything, stir and cover the mouth of the pan with a muslin cloth.
Leave in a sunny spot in your kitchen for 3-4 days, stir every morning and cover it back till the water doesn’t taste of raw carrots and chilies anymore and you can taste the juices from carrots mingled with the sour from mustard.
Keep refrigerated, serve chilled.
The carrots in the kanji liquid make excellent pickle served as a side or just munch along while you sip the drink.
Tip: if you can’t find black carrots where you live, you can use a combination of red carrots and beets to make kanji. Can be made with just red carrots too but that won’t add the luscious red colour.
Makes 4 one litre pitchers or jars