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Kanji is a probiotic traditional Indian drink made from purple carrots and beetroot. Salty drinks are quite popular in India. After moving to Germany I realised that consuming salted drinks wasn't so common in Europe as my friends gawked at me when I added salt to my lemonade instead of sugar. This Kanji might be an unusual drink for many since it's salty and the main flavouring ingredient is mustard but if you're one of those people who like drinking pickle juice, you'll love this drink. It's tangy and slightly funky and fizzy from the fermentation process and it's extremely good for your gut!
Making Kanji is a fun project as it only requires 5 ingredients and a few minutes to put it together followed by lots of waiting. The result is this tangy savoury refreshing drink that we recommend you consume cold and the bi-product, pickled carrots and beetroot, which are another highlight of making these. They are great to snack on by themselves or add a refreshing crunch to salads.
For around 1.5L of Kanji
- 280g purple carrots
- 130g beetroot
- small brown mustard seeds 1 tbsp
- 2.5 tbsp salt*
- 1.5 L drinking water
- 2 Liter glass jar
- a clean cloth or handkerchief
- a rubber band
- Wash the carrots and beetroots thoroughly and cut them in french-fry like sticks. We recommend leaving the skin of the carrots on as the natural yeasts on the surface of the carrots will aid the fermentation process. However, if you cannot find organic carrots you can peel the skin as well.
- Grind the mustard seeds to a fine powder in a blender or mortar and pestle.
- Add the mustard powder and salt to a clean (ideally sterilized) jar followed by half of the water. Mix well till the salt is dissolved into the water and then add in the chopped carrots and beetroot.
- Finally top of the jar with more water till the brim to ensure that the carrots are completely submerged under water.
- Cover the jar with a clean cloth and secure it with a rubber band to ensure that the gases produced while fermenting can escape and to keep the dust and fruit flies out of your Kanji.
- Set the jar in a warm spot in your kitchen to ferment for 3-5 days.
How long really depends on your taste and how warm your kitchen is. In winter it might even take 7 days to be ready but with warm weather like we're having at the moment in Berlin, our Kanji was ready in 3 days. We recommend tasting it everyday starting day 3 till it's your preferred level of tanginess. If your Kanji tastes too salty, then it's probably not ready yet.
Once your Kanji is ready, bottle the drink and refrigerate. Kanji tastes best when it's served cold. We like to separate the drink from the carrots & beets. The vegetables we also add to a jar and keep submerged in some Kanji liquid, like this they can be stored in the fridge for weeks.
Type of salt: Salt is an important ingredient in this process since it prevents the growth of unwanted bacteria and mould and ensures the success of your ferment. As a result, we recommend using the purest salt you can find such as sea salt or himalayan rock salt. Avoid using table salt as it contains iodine and anti-caking agents which might hamper the natural fermentation process. Check the ingredient list on the salt you buy to ensure that it's pure unadulterated salt.
Amount of salt: It might seem like a lot of salt at first but salt is important to ensure the success of the fermentation process. Once fermented, the Kanji will not be as salty as in the beginning because the acids produced during the fermentation process will help balance out the saltiness. As a general rule of thumb, you should add at least 2-2.5% of salt for the total weight of the vegetables used.