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.
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.
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.
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 2-3 days when it’s ready. If kept for long, it loses its flavor.
Black carrots are not easily available these days and hence I have made the recipe using red carrots. I have added 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 very popular in Mathur households.We also make lauki ki kanji by replacing carrots with thick slices of bottle gourd along with the peel. Remove the soft pith while cutting the slices.You can also make kanji drink using orange carrots, flat beans (sem), potatoes, or turnips.