Kanji is a fermented beverage traditionally made of black carrots, mustard seeds, salt and water. It is made during late winters when black carrots are available in the northern part of India. The taste of kanji is salty, sour and pungent. It can take a week for this drink to get ready. Kanji also helps to maintain gut health. This recipe is very simple and uses very few ingredients.

Since black carrots are not available where we live, we thought of replacing them with beetroots. This recipe, inspired from my mother in law’s recipe, has been a staple in our home and our friends enjoy it too. There is always a batch of this delicious drink getting ready in the kitchen corner and a few chilled bottles in refrigerator.

Oh I almost forgot to mention, Kanji tastes really good in pani-poori too. I like to use kanji along with the sweet tamarind chutney in the mixture. Also, the pickled beetroots make a great condiment in salads and sandwiches.

I hope you all will enjoy making Kanji using this recipe from our family kitchen. Please share it with your friends and family.


Boil the water. Wash and peel the beetroots and cut them into wedges. Transfer the cut beetroots to a clean, sanitized glass jar / ceramic pot.


TIP: Do not use a metal and plastic Jars for the process and storing.

Add the boiling water, this will help the beetroot bloom and will give Kanji a deep purple color. Let this sit till it reaches temperature between 75°F - 85°F (24°C- 30°C), this can take few hours.

kanji add water

TIP: It is very important for water to be at recommended temperature before we add the spices otherwise the fermentation won’t take place and it will become a slimy liquid.


Grind the mustard seeds to a powder and add it to the vessel along with black salt, salt, roasted cumin (Jeera) and red chili powder once the water has come to the room temperature. Stir and cover the top of the vessel with a cheese cloth or a breathable kitchen towel and secure it with a rubber band.

kanji spices


Let it sit for three days where it can maintain temperature of 75°F - 85°F (24°C- 30°C). On the fourth day, remove the cloth and mix it thoroughly with a ladle, taste it and at this point you can adjust the salt and roasted cumin and red chili powder. Cover it again and continue to keep it at the same spot for another two days. Give it a taste test the next day, you are looking for sour and pungent taste at this point, if not let it sit for another day.

TIP: A dark corner in my kitchen or a kitchen closet works the best to maintain the temperature. To speed up the fermentation process leave the covered jar / pot for few hours in the early morning sun when its not too hot for 2-3 days. You can also do the taste test everyday to understand the change in flavors.

Once you are happy with the taste, transfer Kanji to the glass bottles and the pickled beetroot to an airtight glass container and refrigerate. Enjoy Kanji chilled.

TIP: You can strain the kanji before serving.