1: Rinse, peel, and cut the carrot into 1.5 to 2 inch long batons or sticks, as seen in the figure below. Peel the beets and cut them into 1.5 to 2-inch wedges or sticks.

If you don’t have red carrots, you may use orange carrots. If you don’t like beets, replace them with 1 extra medium-sized carrot.

2: Tablespoons yellow mustard, ground to a fine powder in a dry grinder Use 1 tablespoon of black or brown mustard if using.

3: First, bring the water to a boil. Allow for complete cooling at ambient temperature. Add the carrots, beets, ground yellow mustard powder, black salt, or normal salt, and red chili powder to a clean and dry ceramic or glass container with a wide opening.

Fill the jars with boiling and cooled water. Filter the water with a fine-mesh strainer before putting it into the jar if you like.

4:Using a clean, dry spoon, thoroughly combine the ingredients.

5: Secure and knot a muslin/cheesecloth on the mouth of the jars or bottles with a loose lid. Keep the jars or bottles out of the sun. Allow 2 to 3 days for fermentation until the drink is sour. Make sure the drink doesn’t get too fermented. The next day, before putting it in the sun, stir the mixture with a clean wooden spoon. Alternatively, instead of mixing with a spoon, shake the jar.

6: The carrot kanji is ready when the liquid begins to taste sour. Refrigerate the kanji drink or serve it straight up. While serving, a few ice cubes might be added. I prefer cold kanji, so I keep it in the fridge for a few hours. Kanji stays for 4 to 5 days in the refrigerator. Before meals or at any time during the day, drink the kanji. With any Indian main dish, serve the fermented carrot and beet sticks as a pickle. Salads, wraps, burgers, and sandwiches can be topped with sour-tangy carrots and beets.

Expert Tips

  • Cleanliness: Any fermented beverage requires attention to avoid the presence of harmful microorganisms. Make sure your jars, spoons, chopping boards, and knives are all clean and dry before using them. If there is a coating of fungus on the drink, discard it. If the drink has an unpleasant odor, it has deteriorated and should be discarded.
  • Mustard: You have the option of using black or yellow mustard. Keep in mind, though, that black mustard has a stronger flavor, so use less of it – around 1 to 1.5 teaspoons. I used yellow mustard, which is milder mustard.
  • Boiling water: I strongly advise boiling water and allowing it to cool to room temperature. This eliminates the possibility of your kanji becoming corrupted. The drink can be spoiled by tap water or even purified water from a machine.
  • Variations: Turnips and peeled watermelon rinds can be added to the drink along with carrots and beets. The natural sugar and carbohydrates in the carrots and beets help the friendly bacteria feed on and ferment the drink organically, so you don’t need to add any sugar or sweetener.