Friday, March 18, 2016

Kaanji



Kanji is a nutritious traditional Indian mocktail made with the simplest of ingredients. This fermented drink has a tangy flavor and a beautiful pinkish red color - a perfect drink for Holi festivities. I remember my mom making this drink with black/dark purple carrots which were only available in the market during the winter-spring months. These contributed to the lovely color of the drink. Since black carrots are not available here in Canada, I have used a combination of red carrots and beets.
This probiotic drink aids in digestion and its sour salty flavor is certainly unique (an acquired taste for sure). For kanji you need to combine carrots, mustard powder and salt in a large glass jar with lots of water and keep this concoction in a sunny spot for several days. Time required to ferment and develop the flavor depends on the temperature in your house. It will take anywhere between 3 to 7 days, or more if its colder. In India the jar is usually kept outside in the sun during the day and kanji fully ferments in 3-4 days during the winter spring temps. Here in Canada, I made this drink at the peak of winter. So leaving it outside was not an option. I kept it in the oven with the light on for 3 days and that did the trick.


Ingredients:
4 large carrots
2 medium beets
12 cups water
Salt to taste
2 tbsp mustard (Rai) seeds
  1. You will need a large glass jar or container for this recipe. 
  2. Peel carrots and beets. Cut into long batons and put them in the glass container.
  3. Add 12 cups of water and salt to taste. 
  4. Grind the mustard seeds into coarse powder. Add it to the above mixture. Mix the contents well and cover. 
  5. Keep the container in a sunny spot and stir the contents every day with a wooden spoon. 
  6. Taste the liquid periodically to see if its ready. Once the kanji develops a tangy flavor, your drink is fermented. 
  7. Strain the contents and refrigerate the liquid to chill. Also refrigerate the pickled batons and enjoy them with food later or serve them as garnish in the drink. 
  8. As it sits in the refrigerator, further fermentation takes place at a slower pace and kanji will get more tangy and yummy. Keep refrigerated. 

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