gajar kanji or carrot kanji recipe, how to make gajar ki kanji recipe

carrot kanji, gajar kanji

gajar kanji or carrot kanji is a traditional punjabi fermented drink that is made in the winters. black carrots appear in the winters in north india and these give the kanji its characteristic purple color.

if you don’t have black carrots, then adding beetroot gives this rich dark purple color. thats what i did. i had made this when the winters were still there and just after a few weeks after making the kanji, the winters have gone completely :-(

the kanji is made with simple ingredients – carrots, mustard powder, red chilli powder and black salt along with water. the mustard added to the kanji helps in keeping the body warm in the chilly winters of the north. you can also add some turnips to the kanji if you prefer.

the whole drink is kept in the sun & allowed to ferment in glass jars or ceramic jars for 3-4 days. it depends on how the sun is behaving in your region. it can be even kept for 4-5 days if the sunlight is not very strong. if its very hot, then 2 -3 days are also enough.

the kanji drink is had as an appetizer. it has a sour, spicy & pungent taste. also it is an acquired taste…. either you will love the kanji or hate it.

carrot kanji recipe

the carrots and beetroot get pickled in the process of fermentation and can be served as side pickle with the simple dal-rice or indian main course. they have a lovely fermented flavor and taste.

we also make urad dal vadas (black gram fritters) and soak in the kanji. this dish is called as kanji vada and is also popular. if you like dahi vada, then you will like kanji vada too.

the process of making the vada for dahi vada is the same as that for kanji vada. i have mentioned in the notes section below in case you want to make vadas for the kanji.

kanji vada

first we had the carrot kanji plain. then i made some urad dal vadas to go with the kanji… they were so good. you have to eat them to know the taste of the vadas soaked in this sour & pungent drink.

kanji is also a probiotic drink and extremely good for the gut. recently, i had read a well written post on the benefits of fermented food & kanji on sangeeta’s blog here. fermented foods like idli, dosa, pickles, yogurt, khimchi are good for the body. read more about fermented foods nutrition benefits here.

lets start step by step carrot kanji or gajar ki kanji recipe:

1: wash, peel and chop the carrot/gajar into long pieces as shown in pics.

2: in a dry grinder, grind the mustard to a fine powder.

3: add the carrots, beets, ground mustard powder, black salt, red chili powder and pour water.

4: stir this mixture well.

5: cover with a lid or cover with a muslin and keep the jars in the sun. allow to ferment for 2-3 days till the drink becomes sour. stir the mixture every next day with a clean wooden spoon before placing in the sun.

6: when the drink starts tasting sour, it means the gajar kanji is ready. keep carrot kanji in the fridge or serve straightway.

if you are looking for more more punjabi recipes then do check sweet punjabi lassi, paneer butter masala, kadai paneer, aloo paratha, punjabi chole masala and bhindi masala.

carrot kanji or gajar kanji recipe below:

5.0 from 5 reviews
carrot kanji
a fermented north indian probiotic drink made from carrots, beetroot and ground mustard and water
RECIPE TYPE: beverage
CUISINE: north indian
SERVES: 2 litres of kanji drink
INGREDIENTS (measuring cup used, 1 cup = 250 ml)
  • 5-6 medium sized carrots/gajar
  • 2 small beetroots
  • 8 cups water - approx 2 litres of water (boiled & filtered or purified)
  • 1 or 1.5 tsp red chili powder
  • 3 tbsp mustard powder (dry grind 2 or 2.5 tbsp mustard)
  • black salt as required
  1. rinse and then peel the carrots and beetroots.
  2. chop into long pieces.
  3. mix all the ingredients in a glass or ceramic jars.
  4. cover with a lid or muslin cloth and keep the jars in the sun for 3-4 days.
  5. stir with a wooden spoon everyday before keeping the jars back in the sun.
  6. when the kanji tastes sour, it means the drink is fermented.
  7. serve carrot kanji straightway or refrigerate.
to make the vadas, follow the recipe below.

1. soak ½ cup urad dal/black gram in water overnight.
2. drain and grind the urad dal with 1 green chili, ½ tsp cumin, a pinch of asafoetida, ½ inch ginger and salt with very less water to a thick batter.
3. heat oil for deep or shallow frying. spoon the batter into the hot oil.
4. fry the vadas till they are golden brown.
5. drain on kitchen tissues.
6. soak the vadas in water for 20-25 mins.
7. press the vadas between the palms of your hands to squeeze out the water.
8. soak these vadas in the kanji overnight in the refrigerator.
9. serve the next day.

{ 39 Responses }

  1. Stu says

    I prepared this just now n waiting for fermentation. Now wondering if it’s safe for consumption during pregnancy. If anyone could answer this, I can drink without concerns. Thanks !!

  2. bhagyasri says

    Hi…i am bhagyasri from andhra pradesh. i like to do new recipies.i think kangi is like lakshmi chaarru in telugu is also fermented lliquer with kadugu…. Means. Ferment the raw rice water. it is also good sour taste.How many days we can preserve this kanji??

    • says

      i checked online for lakshmi chaaru and the method is too good. i think will be good in the summers too. kanji can be preserved easily for a month in the refrigerator.

  3. Rita says

    Thanks so much for this recipe, I will definitely be making it.
    Is it possible to substitute other veggies? the carrot and beet
    has a lot of sugar that I would love to avoid. Also, what is a
    serving size for the drink? Thank you.

    • says

      welcome. usually carrots are added. i do not know of any veggie or fruit that can be added. also i have not tried making with any other vegetable or fruit. i think this proportion serves 8 to 10 glasses.

  4. rakesh says

    SO ECONOMICAL- I just simply love it
    kali gajar -1 kg rs. 10/-
    salt 5 table spoon
    rai mustard powder -10/- for 100gms
    even plastic container will do the trick
    when made drink and continue to add water in the container kanji will once again form
    you can do it twice

  5. rakesh says


  6. Sonum says

    Thanks. Great pictures and presentation. I have a handwritten recipe for this somewhere passed down by my mom who made tangy delish kanji. I am off to buy some carrots and makes this in Florida winter.

  7. Shibu Dutta says

    Thank you very much. I found some black carrots in our supermarket in Canberra and thouyght of making some. Will let you knwo how it goes.

  8. Nahidah says

    Can anyone tell me if my kanji is gone bad, as it tastes sweet, carroty sweet. This is the 4th day the jars are sitting on the kitchen counter. Last time I made it, the kanji was sour and perfect after 5 days. I just don’t want anyone getting sick. Thanks!

  9. umrit says

    Wonderful recipe and what better thing to cool down your heat.

    One thing you forgot to mention clearly in the list of ingredients is that mustard seeds must be Yellow (a. k. a. White) mustard seeds.

    • says

      hi umrit. we use black mustard seeds for making kanji. hence i have not mentioned the color of mustard seeds as usually it is assumed to be black.

      • Huma says

        Hi Dassana,
        last year when I made kanji did so with the white mustard seeds. It turned out fine. I thought you also used white mustard seeds now I will try with the black ones. This year winter was very harsh here but feel like making kanji now in the summer. I have been trying your other recipes as well. Thanx once again.

        • says

          thanks huma. i don’t get white mustard seeds here always. difficult at times. you can make with black mustard seeds. we always make with black mustard seeds.

  10. Kalpana says

    What do we do with the pieces of carrot & beet root? Grind it into the drink or discard?

    • says

      just have the carrot and beetroot pieces like a pickle. they do get pickled and become sour. you can even have them when you are drinking the kanji.

  11. says

    I went to the store last night to buy carrots, beets and ground mustard. I’m starting your recipe right now and I’m excited to see how it turns out!!

  12. Huma says

    Dassana you hit the jackpot. Kanji brought back memories. Every year in February/March we would have kanji made in our house. It is a very common drink in Lahore during this time of the year. Actually my parents are visiting here in New Jersey and I mentioned kanji to my mother. I have not seen black carrots here but my dad jumped in and mentioned the way you just wrote about as my grandfather also used your method. Again the sun problem comes here. I am still going to try it but will miss those big ceramic jars and also a “matka”. Will try in a glass jar. Thank you so much for bringing those fond memories back.

    • says

      thanks a ton huma. kanji has some fond memories for me too. the entire neighborhood would be making kanji in the winter months and i would see the pots getting gently simmered in the sun. even i don’t have those large bharnis or big mason jars or matkas. i really miss having them. they are so good for making kanji as well as pickling mango or vegetables. even if you keep in day light & not direct sunlight, then too it will work. there was a day here when it was all cloudy and i still kept out the jars on the balcony. all the best and welcome.

      • Huma says

        Hi Dassana,
        I made the kanji and it turned out great. I bought a tall glass jar, like we put spaghetti in. Followed the directions and it was real sunny as the temperature turned really warm in New Jersey. So my drink turned out perfect. My mother also told me that I could also add the same amount of water after taking out the kanji for drinking (do this only twice). I did that and the sourness stayed the same, although I had to add some more salt. The carrots were delicious too. Thank you for such a great delight.

  13. Karen says

    I cannot wait to try this! I am so excited because fermented food/drink are so healthy! Thanks for the recipe!

  14. says

    This was a love at first taste for me when I tasted this from a punjabi neighbor…The clicks look fab and I m feeling like just grabbing that glass 4m d screen

  15. says

    wowwwwwwwwwwwwwww what a tempting color I love carrot & beetroot,this drink is very new to me. Love that mustard and red chilly combination…just a quick doubt wont it be bitter dassana when we add mustard to it.This looks awesome.