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.

Ingredients

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

38 Replies to “Kanji, Black Carrots Fermented Drink”

  1. Nice post, and thanks for sharing the recipe.
    I have been looking for this for long time. few months ago I happened to a Turkish restaurant in Phoenix area. and they had it. Apparently its very popular in Turkey, they call it Salgam Suyu. And in Turkey they make it with Turnips. But it tasted exactly the same as if you are drinking the carrot kanji.

    1. Thank you so much, Sohail, for stopping by and taking time to comment! Very interesting about kanji being popular in Turkey 😊 I can imagine it must taste very close with turnips because my mom used to make shaljam/turnip ka pani wala achaar and the liquid tasted very similar to kanji. I have that recipe on the blog too.
      Hope you will enjoy! 😊

  2. We love kaanji and always used to make it with black carrots in winters. A healthy and tasty fermented drink which is so good for the guts.

    1. Thank you, Jyoti! Yes, red carrots and beets would give the closest taste possible and a lush colour too. ☺

    1. Thank you, Uma! It’s a traditional drink, something previous generations in our region made regularly. But most people of our generation don’t know about it.

  3. My Mum used to make this drink with normal carrots and also with some fritters too, especially during monsoon season when our digestive system works slow! When I was young I used to refuse but now I have a craving for this. I must prepare some with purple carrots that are available here.

    1. True Jaya! I feel a responsibility as a mother and a food blogger to pass on to the next generation everything our grandmothers and mothers taught us.

  4. Loved the way you have given the health benefits of this drink, have tried this drink in Delhi long back, but as we don’t get black carrots never tried it, but as you have mentioned that with red carrots also it can be made will try soon, thanks for the lovely healthy share.

    1. Thank you, Soma! Though I love it for it’s lip smacking, spicy taste but the truth is it’s a powerful health tonic. 😊

  5. Such a delight reading the post. I love it when someone promotes traditional methods and am in full agreement with you about carrying on the tradition towards healthy future and survival against many diseases. I have never tasted Kanji but one of the most powerful probiotic that south indians swear by is the Curd. We include this in all our meals and in every season and survive the changing weather, heat and all the nasty foods thats consumed once in a while. Great post!

    1. Thank you, Vidya! 😊 I’m a huge fan of curd too and it’s a staple on our daily menu too. You are right, it’s a wonderful probiotic. I think we are fortunate to have so many fermented foods in our region that are part of our cuisine culture.

  6. I love kanji. When there is slight change in weather i.e. it starts getting hotter, this is the best drink. Digestive as well as tasty. The best part of kanji is, those pickled carrots that are eaten along with sips of kanji

    1. Couldn’t agree more, Ritu! The drink along with the carrots is actually a very yummy, healthy and light midday snack. 😊

  7. They make Kanji in North India with regular carrots. Now to look for black carrots (or use your carrots + beet tip) to make this awesome drink. Is the flavour of a black carrot different from that of a regular carrot, Maria?

  8. WoW very beautiful memories attached with kanji, your post refreshed my childhood memories. My dadi used to make this kanji in a same way as you made. Your kanji looks really delicious and perfect colour. This is really such a beautiful share, thanks a lot 😊

  9. Nicely explained. We don’t hear about this very often. I normally use homemade curd / lassi or apple cider vinegar with honey. Now I will add this to the list. πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ˜ŠπŸ˜Š

  10. I had picked up kala gajar in delhi. I prepared the kanji but have no guts to open the jar. This will be my first taste of this much acclaimed drink. Your pics and write up is telling me I am missing out on some things yummy n healthy.

  11. Loved the way you explained about kanji. Tasted it long time back. Nowadays very few family make it. You are doing a great job to share the recipe for this generation.

    1. Thank you , dear Sujata! I feel as food writers and bloggers, it’s our duty to record all the recipes that reflect our time and culture,especially revive the dying traditions. Sadly, kanji has become one such tradition.

  12. I love your Kanji, Black Carrots Fermented Drink lessons. Though we don’t have black carrot in Nigeria, i will try with the red but without salt since too much salt triggers the blood level, rather i will add ginger.
    Please keep it up for generations to come so that they will learn how to avoid the processed and canned foods flooding our market.

    1. Thank you so much for your very encouraging feedback! 😊 I seriously believe that it’s not calories that’s the root cause of so many health problems in our age but it’s the processed and canned foods.
      Adding ginger sounds like a great idea to enhance flavour.
      Thank you once again for taking time to comment. 😊

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *