As Americans embrace fermented foods and the health benefits they can provide, adopting recipes from other cultures offers fermented food fans a greater variety of options. One of those ferments is kanji, an Indian carrot-and-beetroot drink with probiotic benefits.
Kanji isn't a juice that's been made by running the vegetables through the juicing process. Rather, it's the liquid created from fermenting carrots (often black carrots if available), beetroot, mustard powder, chilies and other spices, and pickling agents. When the fermenting process is done, you get a beverage full of healthy gut bacteria to drink and pickled vegetables to snack on, too.
Those good bacteria that emerge from fermentation are known as probiotics. Probiotics are beneficial to short- and long-term gut health, and they improve the nutrient content of the food. Our immune systems are closely tied to our digestive health. Filling our guts with good bacteria helps prevent or lesson the severity of health issues such as colds, flu, allergic reactions and auto immune disorders.
Making kanji is simple. There's no cooking involved. It's a straight process of filling a bottle with water, adding the vegetables, spices and pickling agents, and then allowing time to work its magic.
This video from Hetal and Anjua from Show Me the Curry goes through the simple steps and explains what's happening each step of the way:
After four days in the sun, the kanji is ready to drink and the fermented vegetables are ready to eat.