Well, if you are Punabi or Marwari, you know what I am talking about.
Kaanji is an age old body coolant that is made in households of north and north west India. Its not only a body coolant but aids in digestion and is a very good liver tonic. My first memories of kaanji take me to lanes of Old Delhi... Khari Baoli ... where any food lover can lose his senses... heaps of spices... aromats lacing the air with with a different aroma every ten steps... Moving from Pungent Chilies... Earthy Henna ... Sharp Mustard.... or fragrant Fennel .There is something for everyone here...
During the months of early winter when the mornings have a nip ... its perfect time to make kaanji ... which can be made from many ingredients. The one that i am going to show you is Kaali gajar ki Kaanji ...
Kaali Gajar or black carrots are an overtly sweet root vegetable... like parsnips ... avaiable only during winters.. they can be replaced with equal quantity of regular carrot and beetroot
so here goes .....
Water 6 lt
Salt 6 tsp
Sugar 1 tbsp
Kashmiri Chili Powder 3 tbsp
Hing ( asafoetida ) 1 pinch
Black Carrots 1 Kg cut in fingers
Coarsely Ground Mustard Seeds ( red mustard seeds) 6 tsp
bring the water to a boil
add all the ingredients except the mustard
bring to a gentle boil and simmer for 2 -3 minutes
pour in a glass jar and wait till it cools to just a little warmer than room temperature
add the mustard and stir well
cover with a tight lid and keep in the sun for four days
do not leave outside at night as the dew will spoil it .
six days later, the kaanji will turn sour and the black water will turn into a bright maroon.... its a sour and salty beverage ..., and the carrots can be eaten with the kaanji or as a pickled vegetable. The process is very similar to what the Middle Eastern cuisines use as pickled vegetables with the shawarma or doner kebab..