Kanji Crafting: A Traditional North Indian Fermented Drink

Kanji Kanji: Kanji, a delightful probiotic elixir deeply rooted in North Indian culinary tradition, typically features the vibrant hue of black carrots. However, my accessible rendition of this healthful concoction embraces the simplicity of regular red carrots and earthy beets.


Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Cooking Time: 0 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Cuisine: North Indian, Punjabi

Course: Beverages

Diet: Gluten-Free, Vegan

Difficulty Level: Easy

Also Read: Bonda


  • 5 to 6 medium-sized carrots
  • 2 small-sized beetroots
  • Approximately 8 cups (2 liters) of boiled water
  • As needed: 2 teaspoons of red chili powder or cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of yellow mustard seeds or 1 tablespoon of black mustard seeds
  • As needed: 1 tablespoon of black salt, regular salt, or pink salt


  1. Start by rinsing and peeling the carrots and beetroots.
  2. Note: If red carrots are unavailable, orange carrots serve as a suitable alternative. Likewise, if beets aren't preferred, simply omit them and substitute with an additional medium-sized carrot.
  3. Cut the vegetables into 1.5 to 2-inch long sticks or batons.
  4. Begin by boiling water and allowing it to cool to room temperature. Cover the pan once the water reaches room temperature.
  5. In a clean ceramic or glass jar with a wide mouth, combine the carrots, beets, ground yellow mustard powder, black salt, pink salt, or regular salt, and red chili powder or cayenne.
  6. Thoroughly mix all the ingredients using a clean, dry spoon.
  7. Loosely cover the jar with a lid or secure a muslin cloth/cheese cloth on top of the jar or bottle. Place the jars in sunlight for 2 to 3 days, or up to 4 to 5 days depending on sunlight availability in your area.
  8. Fermentation duration varies based on sunlight intensity. Approximately 1 to 2 days under intense sunlight is adequate, whereas 4 to 5 days may be required during cloudy periods. Ensure proper fermentation without overdoing it.
  9. Stir the contents with a wooden spoon or shake the jar gently every day.
  10. Once the kanji develops a sour taste, indicating fermentation completion, it is ready.
  11. Serve the carrot kanji immediately or refrigerate. It remains fresh in the fridge for about 4 to 5 days.
  12. For a refreshing touch, add a few ice cubes before serving or chill thoroughly in the refrigerator.
  13. Enjoy the kanji before meals or throughout the day. Additionally, serve the fermented carrot and beet sticks as a tangy pickle accompaniment with any Indian main course.
  14. The tangy-sour carrots and beets also complement salads or serve as flavorful toppings for wraps, burgers, or sandwiches.

Also Read: Dahi Puri

Additional Notes:

To Prepare Kanji Vada:

  • Soak ½ cup of urad dal (husked black gram) in water overnight or for 6 to 8 hours. Drain excess water and rinse the soaked lentils several times.
  • In a blender or grinder, blend the urad dal with 1 green chili, ½ tsp cumin, a pinch of asafoetida, 1-inch ginger, and salt with minimal water to form a thick, flowing batter.
  • Heat oil for deep frying in a pan or kadai (wok). Carefully drop spoonfuls of batter into medium-hot oil and fry until golden and crisp. Drain on paper towels for a few minutes.
  • Submerge the fried vadas in water for 12-15 minutes. Gently squeeze out excess water by pressing the soaked vadas between your palms.
  • Soak these vadas in kanji for a few hours or overnight in the refrigerator. Serve the chilled kanji vada for a delightful twist.

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