5 Regional Fermented Dishes You Should Explore This Summer

Fermented foods are a great source of probiotics during summer. Including regional fermented dishes in your diet is a great way to include more fresh, seasonal produce to your diet. However, you don’t have to stick to elaborate recipes to make fermented dishes at home; some fermented numbers are very simple to cook. 

Take idli, for instance. This popular South Indian dish is a great fermented breakfast option. These soft, fluffy, and slightly tangy rice cakes are made from a fermented batter of rice and urad dal. The batter is left to ferment overnight, allowing natural lactic acid bacteria to develop, which gives idli its characteristic flavour and texture. There are many kinds of regional pickles too which use fermentation and are made with local produce. Here are some other regional fermented dishes which you can make at home.


Did you know that the beloved Dhokla is actually a fermented snack? Originating from Gujarat, it’s made from fermented rice and chickpea flour batter, dhokla is steamed till it attains a light, spongy texture. The fermentation process, typically achieved by using yoghurt or buttermilk, not only enhances the flavour but also aids in digestion. Dhokla is often seasoned with mustard seeds, curry leaves, and green chillies, giving it a zesty and aromatic profile. 


Kanji is a traditional fermented beverage popular in North India, especially during the summer. It is made by fermenting black carrots with water, mustard seeds, and spices like black salt, chilli powder, and turmeric. The fermentation process imparts a tangy, slightly sour flavour to the drink, along with probiotics that promote gut health. Kanji is known for its refreshing and digestive properties, making it a popular thirst-quencher during the festive season. It is often served chilled and garnished with fresh cilantro or mint leaves.


Shidol is a pungent and flavorful fermented fish paste that is a speciality of Assamese cuisine. It is made by fermenting small freshwater fish called "pabda" with salt in earthen pots or bamboo baskets for several days to several weeks. During the fermentation process, natural enzymes and beneficial bacteria break down the fish, resulting in a paste-like consistency with a strong umami flavour and aroma. Shidol is used as a condiment or flavouring agent in various Assamese dishes, adding depth and complexity to curries, chutneys, and vegetable preparations. Despite its strong odour, shidol is prized for its rich taste and is considered a delicacy in Assam.

Kanji Wada 

Kanji Wada is a popular fermented drink and snack combination originating from the desert state of Rajasthan in North India. It consists of Kanji, a tangy and spicy fermented beverage made from black carrots, and Wada, deep-fried lentil fritters made from ground urad dal (black gram). The carrots are fermented with water, mustard seeds, and spices like black salt, red chili powder, and turmeric, resulting in a flavorful and probiotic-rich drink. Kanji Wada is traditionally enjoyed during the festival of Holi and is believed to aid digestion and detoxify the body.


Koozh is a traditional fermented porridge popular in Tamil Nadu. It is made from fermented rice or millet batter, which is allowed to ferment for several hours or overnight. The fermentation process produces a slightly sour taste and a soft, pudding-like texture. Koozh is often served as a cooling and refreshing summer drink, especially during hot months. It is typically eaten with spicy and tangy accompaniments like pickle, raw onion, or green chillies. Koozh is not only hydrating but also aids in digestion and provides a good source of carbohydrates and probiotics.