Kanji Ka Pani


It's beautiful red color and health benefits will give kombucha a run for its money



In my “Have You Heard of These 5 Fermented Foods from Around the World?” series, I made a fermented Indian beverage with water, carrots, mustard seeds, salt, and a dash of red chili powder. Called kanji ka pani, or kanji for short, this brightly colored probiotic drink is a unique refreshment with many health benefits. 

This kanji recipe comes from Ranu, who currently resides in Bangalore, a big metropolitan city in South India. However, Ranu is originally from the birthplace of kanji: northern India. This drink is quite common in northern Indian homes during the last few weeks of winter, especially around Holi, an ancient  Hindu festival still celebrated today. Ranu recalls enjoying kanji when her mother and aunts would make it throughout her childhood. In recent years, Ranu has taken to making kanji for herself, enjoying the charred tang while basking in the winter sun. This kanji recipe is quite an old and traditional recipe, so Ranu hopes newer generations will continue to make and enjoy kanji, reaping its rich health benefits as well.

Kanji delivers good, gut-friendly bacteria to the body upon consumption. It is an excellent homemade probiotic that costs next to nothing to make, and it can be served on its own or with fried barramunda for a more filling and tasty refreshment. Thrown together in a clean jar and left to ferment in a sunny spot for three to five days, the ingredients should be fresh and tangy. I want to note that black carrots are traditionally used in kanji, but really any can be used if you can’t find black carrots. Once finished, kanji is generally okay to consume within a week after fermentation occurs. Ranu tells us that it is pleasant once you get used to it, similar to some hot tea flavors. 

My kanji was a stunningly bright purplish-red color, and it smelled very strong. Overall, this drink is easy to put together, serves as a beneficial probiotic, and provides a new taste many of you probably have not had before. I’m not sure if I allowed the drink to ferment for too long, but the flavor of my kanji was definitely an acquired taste. While the tangy, almost medicinal final product wasn’t my favorite, I felt healthy just by drinking it. 

If you’d like to try a new flavor or add a homemade probiotic to your rotation, I think kanji is a wonderful option for you. Many thanks to Ranu for keeping the tradition going!

Watch the Video

Kanji Ka Pani


  • 1 L Water
  • 1.5 tsp Yellow Mustard Seeds Coarsely Ground
  • .25 tsp Red Chili Powder
  • 2 Black or Purple Carrots Cut into Matchsticks


  • Add and mix everything in a sterile jar. 
  • Close the lid loosely for air to allow escape, or tie a cloth on the mouth of jar, and keep it near a sunny window for a week. 
  • Please stir contents everyday with a clean sterile spoon, or gently swirl the jar. 
  • It'll be sour in a week or so, and then ready to serve by itself as a fermented drink, or with small fried vada(s) / boondi dipped in it.
Course: Drink
Region: Asia
Diet: Diabetic, Hindu, Vegan, Vegetarian


You May Also Like


This dish proves it actually IS easy being green