Here in Bangalore, we are fortunate to have winters that are pleasantly cold during the mornings and evenings and also get decent sunshine during the day time. Winter is also a time for produce like mustard greens, averekai and red carrots. Hence it is the best time to indulge in gajar ka halwa and carrot kanji.
Carrot kanji is a fermented drink that is made in the North of India during the winter months. It is tangy and spicy and warms you. Also since fermented drinks are good for you, another reason to indulge. Now this is such a simple recipe that even my kids can make except the chopping part considering that my younger son recently almost hacked off his finger. So, anyhow, here is the simple versatile recipe:
4 red carrots peeled and chopped into pieces
2 turnips peeled and chopped into thick pieces
1 large beetroot peeled and chopped into thick pieces (Beetroot gives it the rich ruby red colour)
2.5 tsp. mustard seeds powdered
1 tsp chilly powder
2 tsp salt
3 tbsp. black salt
2 litres water
You will need a clean glass or ceramic jar to ferment the kanji in. Add in the chopped vegetables along with the mustard powder, chilly powder and both the salts. Now cover with water. You will find that the vegetable pieces float on top. Cover it well and keep it out in the sun for a few hours. In 2 – 3 days, your kanji will have fermented enough and will be ready for consumption. The best thing about this recipe is that it is extremely versatile. If you can get black carrots, make it with black and red carrots. Or use beetroots like I’ve mentioned. You could also use radish in place of turnips or just eliminate them. The taste is the same.
Also taste when it is getting ready. If it has less salt, add more, same with chilly powder. If salt is more or if it is too sour for your taste just add more water. It is preferable to consume it within a week or it gets way too sour. The pickled vegetables are tasty as is or can be had as a side with your meals.
Like any fermented drinks, this one is an acquired taste. I know people who swear by it and others who swear at it. 🙂 Either way, try it. It is different and at least quite liked in my home. And seriously how easy it is to make this.