Carrot Kanji – an age-old fermented drink is a good source of natural probiotic bacteria. It is made using black/purple carrots that are available in Northern parts of India during winters.
Extremely low in calories and rich in dietary fibre, this kanji is excellent for gut health and improves overall digestion. Carrot Kanji is similar to kombucha or Kvass, popular probiotic drinks but the process is entirely different.
About this Kanji
As per traditional method, black carrots are used in this kanji. It is prepared in almost every households in North Indian states in winters especially during Holi . Coloured bright pink, it tastes sweet and sour with the slight pungent flavour due to fermentation. Fondness for this kanji develops over a period. If you enjoy tangy fermented drink or food, you will enjoy this kanji’s unique taste too.
Usually black carrots are used for this kanji, but I feel no harm in incorporating any kind of carrots. Whatever be its colour (purple, black, red, orange, yellow) Carrots are highly nutrient-dense with slight variation in antioxidants level (purple carrot ranking the highest). So, if you can procure black/purple carrots at your place it’s well and good. That makes for the traditional recipe! If not, feel free to use any colour available at your place. Only that, while using orange or yellow carrot, add equal amount of beetroots to get bright pink/purple colour that black/red carrot renders.
How to make Carrot Kanji?
Preparation is simple. Sliced carrots are flavoured with mustard seeds powder, salt, red chilly powder and mixed with good amount of water. Then, fermented in a glass jar or a matka in sunlight for 4 to 5 days. The fermentation process provides the drink an unique flavour making it rich in probiotic and all the necessary nutrients for good gut health.
In my location, the sunlight is moderate so it’s ideal to ferment the kanji for 4 to 5 days. If your place is hot and humid, 2 to 3 days are enough for fermentation. It can be served as a welcome/starter drink or best can be had on empty stomach for maximum benefit. The carrots slices (that are pickled during fermentation) can be served as an accompaniment with kanji.
In this recipe, I have used equal amount of black and red carrots because that’s how we like it. Here’s the recipe in a simple format.
- Black/Purple Carrot – 1 medium-sized
- Red Carrot – 1 medium-sized
- Water – 1 ½ ltr
- Roasted Mustard Powder – 1 tbsp
- Black Salt – 2 tsp (as per taste)
- Red Chilly Powder – 1 tsp (as per taste)
- Peel carrots and slice them into roundels.
- Dry roast mustard seeds till it splutters. Grind into a fine powder (you can use store-bought one also).
- Fill water in a large glass jar or an earthen pot, add sliced carrots, mustard seeds powder, red chilly powder and salt. Mix well.
- Put the lid and keep it in Sun for 4 to 5 days to ferment.
- From 6th day onwards, you can relish this kanji. Stir well and serve it in small glasses.
- Those carrot slices can be served alongside kanji as an accompaniment.
- Refrigerate the leftover kanji from 6th day onwards if it is made in a glass jar. Traditionally they are fermented in an earthen pot that stays fresh for at least a month at room temperature.
- If using orange/ yellow carrots, add equal amount of beetroots for that perfect colour and taste.
- You can also add mini urad dhal or moong dhal vadas 1 or 2 days before serving. But, it’s shelf-life is short up to 2 days and also needs refrigeration after fermenting.