Literally nothing spells winter in Punjab more than sarson ka saag with makki ki roti, gajar ka halwa, gobi gajar achaar... and Gajar ki Kanji; a fermented, mustard seeds based tangy beverage.
Kanji is prepared usually during winters in Punjab, under the not-so-harsh winter sun, preferably with purple carrots (kali gajar). As purple carrots aren’t easily available, Gajar ki Kanji is also made using red carrots (the ones used for gajar ka halwa, not the cold storage orange ones) and beetroots.
Rajasthan has a not-so-different recipe of Kanji which uses only mustard seeds and some spices. No seasonal carrots, no beets… simple. This is the recipe of Kanji that is teamed with moong dal vadas for the super yummm Kanji Vada… mouth-watering flavours of spicy moong dal vada and tangy Kanji! That’s a post for another day :)
Try this easy recipe of Gajar ki Kanji and make your own natural probiotic drink at home, instead of buying packaged probiotics. Curd or yoghurt is another natural probiotic which is also really easy to make at home – that’s also a post for another day :)
The most important part of this recipe of Gajar ki Kanji is the fermentation process of 2-3 days placed outside or near a window sill to soak in the sunlight, which allows the tangy mustard flavours to develop.
Makes 3 litres of Gajar ki Kanji to start with.
You could decant as much Kanji as you would need for the day and add more water with black salt and some mustard seeds powder to the already prepared Kanji… (max. up to 6 litres for this quantity of carrots and beetroots)… and allow it to ferment for a day before decanting it the next day.
Time taken: 15 minutes + 2 days fermentation
Ingredients to make Gajar ki Kanji
3 medium sized red carrots
2 tbsp mustard seeds powder
1 tbsp black salt, or to taste
1/2 tbsp rock salt, or to taste
½ tsp Kashmiri red chilli powder
½ tsp jeera powder (optional)
3 litres water
Method of making Gajar ki Kanji
Wash, peel and cut the carrots & beetroots in to batons (cut lengthwise). Place these in a large glass jar which has an airtight lid and can hold up to 3 litres of water. Traditionally, Kanji is made in an Earthen pot (matka / ghada).
Please do not use plastic jars for foods that have to be kept out in the sunlight.
Add mustard seeds powder (I used regular black mustard seeds, you could use the yellow ones too), salts and red chilli powder and mix well. Add 1 litre of water and give it a good stir so all the flavours blend. Add remaining water to fill the jar completely till the top. Close the lid tight and place the jar in a spot where it receives sunlight, for 2 – 3 days.
You will know your naturally probiotic Kanji is ready once the tangy flavour starts to develop.
From this point, you can decant some of the Kanji, add more water and season to taste – you could do this for about twice the quantity of water i.e. a total of 6 litres for this recipe. Use Kanji within a week or 10 days of making, as the continuous fermentation process will keep increasing the tang from the mustard seeds.
Kanji is best served chilled.
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