Carrot Kanji – Traditional Punjabi Fermented Drink


Source: Visit that website to see beautiful step-by-step photos of how to make this recipe.

Gajar kanji or carrot kanji is a traditional Punjabi fermented drink made in winter. Black (purple) carrots appear in the winters in Northern India and give the kanji its characteristic purple color. If you don’t have black carrots, adding beetroot gives this rich dark purple color. You can also add some turnips to the kanji if you like.

Kanji is made with simple ingredients – carrots, mustard powder, red chilli powder and black salt along with water. The mustard added to the kanji helps keep the body warm in the chilly winters of the north

The whole drink is kept in the sun & allowed to ferment in glass or ceramic jars for 3-4 days. This depends on how the sun is behaving in your region. It can be 4-5 days if the sunlight is not very strong. If its very hot, then 2 -3 days are plenty.

The kanji drink is had as an appetizer. It has a sour, spicy & pungent taste. It’s an acquired taste… either you will love the kanji or hate it.

The carrots, beetroot and turnips get pickled in the process of fermentation and can be served as side pickle with the simple dal-rice etc. They have a lovely fermented flavor and taste.

We also make urad dal vadas (black gram fritters) and soak them in the kanji. This dish is called as kanji vada and is also popular. If you like dahi vada, then you will like kanji vada too.

The process of making the vada for dahi vada is the same as that for kanji vada. How to make this is in the notes section below in case you want to make vadas for the kanji.

Kanji is a probiotic drink and extremely good for the gut.

Gajar kanji or Carrot kanji Recipe:
Author: Dassana
Yeild: 2 litres of kanji drink

  • 5-6 medium sized carrots/gajar
  • 2 small beetroots
  • 8 cups water – approx 2 litres of water (boiled & filtered or purified)
  • 1 or 1.5 tsp red chili powder
  • 3 tbsp mustard powder (dry grind 2 or 2.5 tbsp mustard)
  • black salt as required

Rinse and peel the carrots and beetroots.
Chop into long pieces.
Mix all the ingredients in a glass or ceramic jars.
Cover with a lid or muslin cloth and keep the jars in the sun for 3-4 days.
Stir with a wooden spoon everyday before putting the jars back in the sun.
When the kanji tastes sour, it means the drink is fermented.
Serve carrot kanji straightway or refrigerate.

Note: To make the vadas, follow the recipe below.

  1. Soak ½ cup urad dal/black gram in water overnight.
  2. Drain and grind the urad dal with 1 green chili, ½ tsp cumin, a pinch of asafoetida, ½ inch ginger and salt with very little water to a thick batter.
  3. Heat mustard oil for deep or shallow frying. Spoon the batter into the hot oil.
  4. Fry the vadas till they are golden brown.
  5. Drain on kitchen tissues.
  6. Soak the vadas in water for 20-25 mins.
  7. Press the vadas between the palms of your hands to squeeze out the water.
  8. Soak these vadas in the kanji overnight in the refrigerator.
  9. Serve the next day.

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