Winters are my favourite time of the year.
Always. Cold weather makes my skin glow that healthy pink blush that no amount of l’Occitane can give me the rest of the year. My hair just begins to behave itself and despite the amount of deliciousness I eat, the metabolism stays on point.
Kanji ,the miracle drink that the parents make religiously.
And what helps are the copious amounts of fruit I eat. I adore winter fruits. Strawberries, blueberries- only by the punnet and only when I’m feeling a little rich. I’m sorry I cannot justify spending 6000 INR on a kilo of blueberries or raspberries.
Thats why I like being a locavore. Eat local produce. You know its fresh and has a negligible carbon footprint also if you don’t really feel like finishing the stock pile you picked from the,market, you won’t feel as guilty as hell. I’d think twice about feeding the dog a few berries. And I don’t think the five-second rule would apply to them either.
You don’t know what the five-second rule is?
Well, if no ones watching, its redundant anyways. And if there are people around you…
Well, if something you really like, like chocolate, berries, almonds or maybe even fruit falls on the floor, you can pick it up within five seconds and it will be safe to eat it.
Well because germs won’t realize the bounty that has landed on their doorstep.
You can wipe it on your denims,if you want…
That’s the rule that applies in homes that have children or foodies or both.
Purple foods are the healthiest things you can eat. My first reference came from “Foods That Heal” -Readers Digest.
The purple comes from anthocynins, which are the anti oxidants that help keep your body healthy and young.
They prevent ulcers, are good for the heart and liver and prevent urinary tract infections.
And the purple pigments are found in blueberries, blackberries, purple cabbage, prunes, black figs purple carrots, purple onions and grapes.
So the next time you see the internet go crazy about blueberries, you know why.
Carrots are not native to India. They were first grown by the Dutch and purple carrots were cultivated too. They came to India in the seventeenth century, when mostly purple carrots were grown. Today, mostly you find purple carrots mostly in north India in the winters only. That is the natural time of growth, and when the bounty harvest is out, this fermented drink is made.
The bacteria present on the skin of the carrots act on the natural sugars within and make this pungent,fizzy drink.
There is no addition of sugar, hence it’s inherent difference to the much readily available kombucha. Its loaded with chilies and mustard. Together they make Kanji the drink a miracle.
Its full of antioxidants and the gut friendly bacteria. Thats an excellent aid to your digestion.
Kanji is an excellent drink for your eyes. The anthocynins can help in fighting macular degradation and benefit your vision.
The carrots that get pickled after a few days can be used in sandwich or just eaten as it is.
In event of the non-availability of purple carrots we use beetroot.
Now beetroot may be pink and deep shades of purple, but it does not have anthocynins. It has betalains, which are antioxidants, but not the same as what purple carrots have.
But when you use the regular carrots and beetroot in a combination when they are not available, it’s almost the same taste. And since it’s a fermented drink, it has mostly all the health benefits of Kanji, the miracle drink.
Basic rule of fermentation. Sunshine. Do not make kanji in the monsoons or even cold winters. The sunshine helps in the spread of the good bacteria. During the rains, there are other bacteria which may cause harm. You just might end up growing gut unfriendly bacteria that might cause a bad case of food poisoning. And unless your source is organic, peel the carrots.
Also, don’t cover the kanji with a screw top lid while in the sun. there might be an explosion. The CO2 released might collect and the fizz might cause your bottle to explode. Use a cheesecloth tied with twine so that nothing falls into your kanji and the gas exchange is happy.
Also do not place the bottle in sunshine after the kanji ans fermented.
Only glass jars, bottles or glasses, ceramic barnis and pickling jars are excellent choices.
Don’t stir with a steel, aluminum or brass spoon. Use a wooden spoon to stir.
Make small quantities at a time.you can make another batch. Also,I use only four spices. Feel free to add black pepper, asofeteda or heeng if you want to.
Mint leaves, coriander leaves or lemon slices are great for garnish.
You can make pakoras or moong dal vadas and pop a few into each glass and serve. Drink up the kanji and munch on the kanji soaked vada afterwards.
A word about that powerhouse , Mustard seeds.
Yellow mustard seeds are also a superfoods. They help cure respiratory congestion, improve heart health, fight cancer and pump up the metabolism among other things. That’s the reason so many cuisines have mustard as a major spice.
Gajar Ki Kanji Purple Carrots The Miracle Drink
250 gms purple carrots
3 tspn yellow mustard seed, coarsely pounded
2 tbsp-or to taste pink salt
1 tbsp red chili powder- kutti lal mirch
3 liters water
Scrape or peel the carrots and wash well.
Cut into even size sticks.
Place the carrots in the barni or glass jar.
Top with the mustard, red chili and pink salt.
Pour in the water and stir with the wooden spoon. Place a cheesecloth over and tie with twine cover with a plate. This is the first stage of the kanji.
Place in the sun for 3-4 days. Stir once everyday. Don’t taste the kanji for the first few days…the good bacteria haven’t taken over yet.
After you can smell the sourness and see bubbles on the sides and the kanji is evenly pink. Fill a glass and enjoy.
You can eat the sour pickled carrots too.
If you’re serving people who’ve never had this before, feel free to strain the kanji out.
Just in case you’ve no access to purple carrots- use 250 gms regular carrots and 1 large beetroot.
Cut sticks after peeling and washing the vegetables.
Make the kanji the same way.
Enjoy kanji ,the miracle drink and let me know how you and your family liked it.
Its best enjoyed when summer is approaching and in the daytime. Primarily because of its association with sunshine.