Kanji - The Indian Probiotic Drink

Updated: Mar 21

Kanji will make you a little nostalgic, your taste buds stimulated and your gut extremely strong!

Carrot and Beetroot Kanji

A very popular preparation in North India, Kanji, is an excellent probiotic option. I absolutely love it! It is very tasty and satisfying. Unlike most probiotic drinks in the market, our humble Kanji gives you the happiness of eating “chaat” and at the same time, your gut is going to be very happy!


Kanji contains a gut-friendly or commensal bacteria called Lactobacillus plantarum. This bacterial strain is antibacterial, which means that it prevents the growth of the bad pathogenic bacteria like Staphyloccoccus aureus, Salmonella typhi, Bacillus cereus, Escherichia coli, and a few more. In addition, it is also is antioxidant and lowers cholesterol levels 1.


You should start by having about 100 ml of the Kanji. This will give you about 100 million CFU of the bacteria.2 Do so for 1 week, if you get any migraine-like headaches or any other gastric discomfort, then you should stop. If not, you can increase the amount to 150 ml per day. Most of my clients find it to be a great replacement for the evening caffeine dose.


I am sharing the recipe I use. This is something of a cherished heirloom for me. I have spent my childhood having Kanji that my grandmum made for us. Of course, there are multiple variations to this recipe. You can go on a little adventure of your own, speak to North Indian grandmothers and they will give you their own recipes.


In this particular recipe, I have used orange carrots and beetroots. However, the original one is made with Purple Carrots (you get them in North India in winters). I know parts of Up & Bihar make something similar with Potato and Jugni (a tiny gourd you get there locally). You can make this with pretty much any vegetable, however, to start with stick to root vegetables. Also, any root vegetable that you would not eat raw, needs to parboiled before fermenting. Just do a little trial and error with the combinations you use or stick to my Carrot and Beetroot Kanji recipe.

CARROT & BEETROOT KANJI


No of Portions - 7 (150ml each) Preparation Time - 60 minutes Skill Level - Easy


Ingredients:

  • 1 litre Water, boiled and cooled

  • 2 Carrots, cut into fingers

  • 1 Beetroot, cut into fingers

  • 2 tsp Red Chilli Powder

  • 1 tsp Turmeric Powder

  • 2 tbsp Sea Salt

  • 2 tbsp Ground Mustard Powder

  • Mason Jar, sterilized with hot water


Method:

Put all the ingredients in the mason jar and mix. Put the lid on the jar and place it in a sunny spot. Stir this once a day. Depending on the heat and sunlight, this generally takes 2-7 days to reach the right taste. Keep tasting it till it becomes tangy and develops a pickle-like flavor.


Once ready, shift it into the fridge and drink about 150 ml every day (not in the morning).

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The Health Pantry

Mumbai, India