Chef Megha’s Kanji Recipe For The Holi Season
Image Credit: Chef Megha Kolhli

With summer knocking right there, it’s time to sip into something that’s soothing and cooling too at the same time and what better than to have some Kanji. This fermented probiotic drink made specially during Holi is a North Indian staple. In India the tradition of fermented food is pretty old and this drink is an absolute delight as it’s rich in  in antioxidants and dietary fibers. This miracle water that;s beautiful dark red in colour sees many naturally occurring bacteria that gives this drink it’s health benfits too. 

And keeping up with the tradition Chef Megha Kokhli took to Instagram to share her Kanji recipe as she posted saying “Holi is almost here , so I knew I had to put up a post of Kaanji, a drink that I associate most with Holi, spring and the end of winters. 🌼🌸

Kaanji is a probiotic drink, made with black carrots, native to North India. It's been part of local diets here since the Era of the Indus valley civilization.

For ages, traditional fermented foods have been an integral part of Indian cuisine. In the north the one fermented drink which we absolutely love is Kaanji.

It is believed that Rishi Kashyap has mentioned this drink in his ayurvedic thesis ‘Kashyap Samita’. He says that Kanjika is a sour, fermented rice dish, famous in the south. Later, ‘Kanjika’ was used to classify all fermented foods. The north Indian Kanji is believed to have emerged out of this old tradition.

The ideal time to consume Kaanji is at the end of winter, when our immunity is at its lowest as it boosts immunity & helps to maintain gut health. Apart from this, it purifies blood, cleanses the liver and aids in digestion.

The end of winter coincides with the end of making & consuming Kaanji at home. My Dadi used to make Kanji in huge martabans /barnis and used to leave them out in the sun to ferment. Every winter there is a big jar of Kaanji that's a constant on my dining table through the day, since as long as I can remember. In fact I think that at my home, Holi is the last day when we have Kaanji, so it officially does mark the end of winter in my home.

Every home has their own recipe for Kaanji, sharing my recipe here, I hope you enjoy making it!”

Here's the recipe.


    1.5 tbsp crushed yellow mustard seeds.

    6 black carrots.

    2 litres filtered water.

    1 tbsp black salt.

    1 tbsp roasted cumin powder.

    1 tsp red chili powder


    Wash and scrub the carrots well. Keep the peels on to aid the process of fermentation

    Cut the carrots into thick strips

    Mix the carrots well with the salt, mustard, chilli powder. Add water and stir. Transfer this into your sanitized glass or ceramic jars.

    Cover the jar with a muslin cloth and seal it with a thread

    Keep these jars in the sun for 3 to 4 days. Every night keep it back inside and stir the mixture and reseal the jar

    Enjoy the Kaanji after 4 days!