Kanji Drink

4.67 from 6 votes

Kanji Drink is a traditional North Indian probiotic drink made by fermenting carrots in water and spices. Make it using my easy recipe.

Kanji drink is a must-make for Holi. Check out my other recipes that you can make for Holi – Thandai Syrup, Thandai Powder, Gujiya, Dahi Vada, and Namak Para.

Kanji recipe served in a glass.
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About Kanji Drink

Kanji Drink is a traditional North Indian fermented drink prepared mostly in winter. In my home, it is a must-drink to make for the festival of Holi.

It has a unique color and taste and uses a unique preparation method: fermenting for 2-5 days.

India has a tradition of making fermented food like pickles, dosa, idli, yogurt, etc, and this Kanji drink recipe is a great addition to the list. This drink is rich in antioxidants and dietary fibers. It is a probiotic drink that is great for gut health and improves digestion.

It is often enjoyed as an appetizer drink and is a must-make for the Holi festival in our house.

Kanji drink can be called Indian Kombucha, although the process of making the two is very different.

It’s super quick to bring together, and then all you need to do is keep it in good sunlight to ferment.

This recipe is vegan and gluten-free.

Ingredients and Variations

Carrots – This drink is made using either black carrots or red carrots.

Black carrots are not easily available, so I made the recipe using red carrots. I also add a few beetroots to this drink to give it that lovely purple color.

Replace carrots with thick slices of watermelon peel to make tarbooj ke chilke ki kanji. This is a traditional recipe that is very popular in Mathur households.

We also make lauki ki kanji by replacing carrots with thick slices of bottle gourd, along with the peel. While cutting the slices, remove the soft pith.

You can also make kanji drink using orange carrots, flat beans (sem), potatoes, or turnips.

Mustard Seeds – Use only yellow mustard seeds. Black mustard seeds could make it bitter.

Others – You will also need salt, turmeric powder, and red chili powder.

How To Make Kanji Recipe

Preparation

Start by preparing the red carrots and beets. If you are using black carrots, you can skip adding the beetroots.

Wash 7 oz (200 g) of red carrots and discard ½-inch of the top and bottom. Peel them using a vegetable peeler. Cut the carrots into ¼-inch thick and 1-inch long fingers (batons).

Wash 1.8 oz (50 g) of beetroots and discard the ½-inch of top and bottom. Peel them using a vegetable peeler. Cut the beetroot into thin wedges.

Add 5 teaspoon of yellow mustard seeds to a grinder and grind to make a coarse powder.

Yellow mustard seeds added to a grinder.
Ground mustard seeds.

Gather the remaining ingredients.

Note – Ensure the jar in which you ferment the Kanji is clean and dry. Making kanji is like pickling, so you have to be extra careful about the cleanliness of the vessel and the spoons you use to stir it.

Make The Kanji

Heat 2 liters of water in a large pot over high heat. Switch off the heat as soon as it boils.

Note – Some people do not boil the water while making this drink. I do it to ensure the drink doesn’t get spoiled while fermenting. Do this extra step for peace of mind.

Water heating in a pan.

Add the carrots and beetroots to the pot and cover it with a lid for 10 minutes.

carrots and beets added to the pan.
Pan covered with a lid.

Remove the lid, add the following ingredients to the water, and stir well.

  • 4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 5 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds powder
Salt, turmeric, chili powder and mustard powder added to the pan.
Stirred well.

Transfer the drink to a clean glass or ceramic jar. Cover the mouth of the jar with a muslin cloth and secure the cloth with twine.

Kanji transferred to a glass jar.
Jar covered with a muslin cloth.

Ferment

Place the jar in the sun for 2-5 days for fermentation. Stir the mixture using a clean and dry spoon every next day.

Note – Keep the jar in a shaded area at night and bring it back to sunlight in the morning.

Kanji kept in the sun.

The time of fermentation will depend on how strong the sun is. If the sun is strong, Kanji will get ready in 2 days; if it is mild, it can take up to 5 days to ferment properly. So make sure to check it every day, and once it tastes tangy, immediately keep the jar in the refrigerator.

Note – If you see any green mold on the kanji, you have fermented it more than required. Make sure to discard it; otherwise, it may cause stomach upset.

The ready kanji is tangy and pungent in taste with a nice fermented aroma.

Once the kanji drink is ready, remove the cloth and stir the drink using a long spoon.

Refrigerate it for 2-3 hours before serving. Make sure to stir it well just before serving.

Serve kanji in glasses and a few pieces of carrots and beets in each glass as an appetizer drink. Add a few ice cubes to the glasses to make it extra chilled.

Consume the refrigerated kanji drink within 4-5 days when it’s ready. If kept for a long time, it loses its flavor.

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Kanji Drink is a traditional North Indian probiotic drink that is made by fermenting carrots in water and spices. It comes together in under 15 minutes of prep time (vegan, gluten-free).
4.67 from 6 votes

Kanji Drink Recipe (Indian Probiotic Drink)

Kanji (Kanji Drink) is a traditional north Indian probiotic drink that is made by fermenting carrots in water and spices. It comes together in under 15 minutes of prep time.
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Fermenting Time: 5 days
Total: 5 days 15 minutes
Servings: 8 people

Ingredients 

  • 7 ounces red carrots (200 g)
  • 1.8 ounces beetroots (50 g)
  • 5 teaspoons yellow mustard seeds
  • 2 litres water
  • 4 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder
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Instructions 

Preparation

  • Start by preparing the carrots and beets. If using black carrots, then you can skip adding the beetroots.
  • Wash the carrots and discard ½-inch of the top and bottom. Peel them using a vegetable peeler. Cut the carrots into ¼-inch thick and 1-inch long fingers (batons).
  • Wash the beetroots and discard the ½-inch of top and bottom. Peel it using a vegetable peeler. Cut the beetroot into thin wedges.
  • Add mustard seeds to a grinder and grind to make a coarse powder.
  • Gather the remaining ingredients.
  • Note – Make sure the jar in which you are fermenting the Kanji is absolutely clean and dry. Making kanji is like pickling. You have to be extra careful about the cleanliness of the vessel and the spoons you are using to stir it.

Make The Kanji

  • Heat water in a large pot and as soon as it comes to a boil, switch off the heat.
  • Note – Some people do not boil the water while making this drink. I do it to make sure the drink doesn’t get spoiled while fermenting. Do this extra step for peace of mind.
  • Add the carrots and beetroots to the pot and cover it with a lid for 10 minutes.
  • Remove the lid and add salt, turmeric powder, red chili powder, and mustard powder to the water and stir well.
  • Transfer the Kanji drink to a clean glass or ceramic jar and cover the mouth of the jar with a muslin cloth. Secure the cloth using a twine.

Ferment

  • Place the jar in the sun for 2-5 days for fermentation. Stir the mixture using a clean and dry spoon every next day.
  • Note – Keep the jar in a shaded area at night and bring it back to sunlight in the morning.
  • The time of fermentation will depend on how strong the sun is. If the sun is strong, Kanji will get ready in 2 days and if it is mild, then it can take up to 5 days for it to ferment properly. So make sure to check it every day and once it tastes tangy, then immediately keep the jar in the refrigerator.
  • The ready kanji is tangy and pungent in taste with a nice fermented aroma.
  • Once the kanji drink is ready, remove the cloth and stir the drink using a long spoon.
  • Note – If you see any green mold on the kanji, it means that you have fermented it more than required. Make sure to discard it otherwise it may cause stomach upset.

Serve

  • Refrigerate it for 2-3 hours before serving. Make sure to stir it well just before serving.
  • Serve kanji in glasses along with a few pieces of carrots and beets in each glass as an appetizer drink. You can also add a few ice cubes to the glasses to make it extra chilled.
  • Consume the refrigerated kanji drink within 4-5 days when it’s ready. If kept for a long time, it loses its flavor.

Video

YouTube video

Notes

You can make this drink with black carrots if they are available. Skip adding beet in that case.
Use only yellow mustard seeds to make kanji. Black mustard seeds could make it bitter.

Nutrition

Calories: 15kcal, Carbohydrates: 3g, Sodium: 1511mg, Potassium: 100mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 4275IU, Vitamin C: 1.7mg, Calcium: 10mg, Iron: 0.4mg
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4 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I am making kanji first time. Recipe given by you is very clear and helping. Can we use black pepper in place of red chilly and also raw haldi.

  2. Mam I have made kanji and after 5- 6 days i see white fungus layer on top the juice. I stirred it every next day. Is it ok to consume that?

    1. No, please discard it. Making kanji is like pickling. You have to be extra careful about the cleanliness of the vessel and the spoons you are using to stir it.