kanji recipe | black carrot kanji drink

Kanji recipe With step by step photos – gajar ki kanji or black 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. That’s 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 🙁

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carrot kanji, gajar kanji

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 it is 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, gajar 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.

carrot kanji recipe, gajar kanji recipe

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.

How to make kanji recipe

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

carrot for carrot kanji recipe

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

gajar for carrot kanji recipe

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

carrot for carrot kanji recipe

4: stir this mixture well.

making carrot kanji recipe

5: cover with a lid or cover with 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.

making carrot kanji recipe

6: When the drink starts tasting sour, it means the gajar ki kanji is ready. keep Carrot kanji in the fridge or serve straightway. It can be served as side pickle with the simple dal-rice or Indian main course.

carrot kanji recipe, gajar kanji recipe

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Kanji Recipe

4.8 from 10 votes
Carrot kanji is a fermented North Indian probiotic drink made from carrots, beetroot and ground mustard and water
carrot kanji recipe, gajar kanji recipe
Author:Dassana Amit
Prep Time:15 mins
Total Time:15 mins
Course:beverages & drinks
Cuisine:north indian
Servings (change the number to scale):2 litres of kanji drink
(1 CUP = 250 ML)


  • 5-6 medium sized carrots
  • 2 small beetroots
  • 8 cups water, approx 2 litres of water - boiled and filtered or purified
  • 1 or 1.5 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 3 tablespoon mustard powder (dry grind 2 or 2.5 tablespoon mustard seeds)
  • black salt as required


  • Rinse and then peel the carrots and beetroots.
  • Chop into long pieces.
  • Mix all the ingredients in a glass or ceramic jars.
  • Cover with a lid or muslin cloth and keep the jars in the sun for 3-4 days.
  • Stir with a wooden spoon everyday before keeping the jars back in the sun.
  • When the kanji tastes sour, it means the drink is fermented.
  • Serve carrot kanji straightway or refrigerate.


To make the vadas, follow the recipe below.
1. Soak 1/2 cup urad dal/black gram in water overnight.
2. Drain and grind the urad dal with 1 green chili, 1/2 tsp cumin, a pinch of asafoetida, 1/2 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.
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Dassana Amit

Dassana Amitnamaste and welcome to vegrecipesofindia.com which i started in feb 2009 and is a pure vegetarian blog. i have been passionate about cooking from childhood and began to cook from the age of 10. later having enrolled in a home science degree greatly enhanced my cooking & baking skills and took it to a different level which i now share as foolproof recipes. i was formally trained both in mainstream indian as well as international cuisines.

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63 comments/reviews

  1. Do we need to filter the kanji before storing in fridge

    • no need to filter kanji.

  2. I made this the way you stated but with black carrots. But unfortunately on opening the jar there was a whole lot of fungus on top.

    What can I do to avoid the fungus happening?

    • a good sunlight won’t allow the fungus to appear. in which type of jar you kept like glass or ceramic. the heat from the sides of the jar is transferred to the contents inside. the top lid also as to get heated so that the heat is transferred in the jar. microorganisms like fungus cannot grow if heat is there. it is best to use ceramic jars. if using glass jars then the top can be covered with a muslin or cotton cloth. hope this helps.

      • Thanks for replying – I kept it in a glass jar with tissue paper on it.- there isn’t much sun here right now with winter still here – I will try keeping it covered with a muslin cloth. I think I made a mistake by not stirring it also like you said.

        • welcome karishma and thanks for letting me know. yes it is better to stir or shake the jar gently. a good sunlight is a must so as not to let any mould grow. but yes you can next time place a muslin cloth.

  3. you can direct use black Carrot instead of red carrot & beetroot. i love it4 stars

    • yes you can. but black carrots is not easily available every where.

  4. I made it yesterday and stored in a glass container. Sun has been quite strong here since yesterday. When stirring today evening, I found green algae kind of stuff on top. Is that normal for Kanji? Is that how it ferments? I am not sure if it’s gone off or still ok? Could anyone please advise? Thanks

    • Deepa, no its not normal. looks like its fungus. discard it.

  5. Dassana
    I would like to give this ti my husband who is having bacterial infection in the stomach.
    But I am living qatar which s very hot now.
    Could u suggest like how long I should keep this outside.
    As in here the temperature is like 45,

    • sathya, you can keep for about 1.5 to 2 days.

      • Hi dassana,
        Can this drink be made even during summers? Also can it be kept out in a cool dark area after the fermentation is complete?

        • yes ashwini, you can make kanji during summers. it is better to keep in the fridge during summers after fermentation is complete. otherwise, it will become too much fermented and can get spoiled.

  6. I plan to make this hopefully by the end of this day. Thanks

    • You are welcome

  7. Hi! I am curious to try this out, but I wonder if it is safe for pregnant women to drink it?

    • during pregnancy its best to avoid foods which one is not sure about. since kanji is fermented and in fermentation process, things can go wrong if the food is not handled hygienically. so i would suggest to not to have kanji drink during pregnancy. why take a risk. its better to have plain carrots or carrot salad or any dish made with carrots, which can be safely consumed.

  8. Thank you for this post, I’m excited to try making this! I do have a question though. How much black salt should be added? Your recipe doesn’t specify.

    • i have not mentioned the amount of salt as the preference for salt varies from person to person. so you can add as per your taste. black salt is not salty as compared to sea salt. so you can add even a bit more. in this recipe, i would suggest adding 1/2 to 1 tbsp black salt.

  9. Do you strain out the carrots and discard them or eat them/ use for some other purpose? Thank you for your wonderful site, have bookmarked it and return to it often 🙂

    • we don’t discard the carrots. we have them like a pickle with the main course.

  10. 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 !!

  11. Hi…i am bhagyasri from andhra pradesh. i like to do new recipies.i think kangi is like lakshmi chaarru in telugu language.it 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??

    • 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.

  12. Gr8

  13. 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.

    • 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.

  14. 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
    regards5 stars

    • agree… it can be doubled up by adding water.

    REGARDS5 stars

    • you can use small rai ka powder and plain salt too and made without mirch powder too.

  16. 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.

    • welcome sonum

  17. 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.

    • sure 🙂

  18. 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!

    • not sure what went wrong.

  19. 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.

    • 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.

      • 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.

        • 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.

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

    • 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.

  21. 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!!5 stars

    • do give the feedback julia.

  22. Thank you for introducing me to such a wonderful drink. Bookmarking this.

  23. 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.5 stars

    • 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.

      • 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.

        • thats nice huma. so the sun finally came up. the carrots and beet go very well with dal-chawal or kadhi-chawal combo.

  24. awesome clicks.. Nice presentation and well explained.. Thanks for the recipe

  25. I cannot wait to try this! I am so excited because fermented food/drink are so healthy! Thanks for the recipe!5 stars

    • welcome karen. fermented foods are healthy and kanji is also very good for the body.

  26. Lovely colors. Right now I have been sipping another combination of carrots and fruits in kanji.
    Thanks for the mention 🙂

    • welcome sangeeta.

  27. Looks beautiful ….love this anytime ..fab pics

  28. 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

  29. 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.

    • hi janani. the drink is not bitter. its sour. since the ground mustard also gets fermented, there is no bitterness in the drink.

      • oh really thanks for the information bookmarked it dear.

      • Hi…I kept kaanji in the sun for 5-6 days since the temp is very low but the kaanji got fungus on top …wot should I do?

        • oh no. discard it. it will not be good for the body.