Carrot Kanji

Carrot Kanji

At the onset of every winter during my childhood, I have early memories of seeing brightly colored root vegetables from carrots to turnips to beets in pickling jars lined up in our balcony. My mother would make these pickles, await the fermentation, which usually took 2 to 3 days at the most and then eat the vegetables and drink the brine (aka pickle water) with every meal.

The brine, called kanji, known to have probiotic benefits, is an acquired taste and one I did not acquire until my adult years. The process of fermentation is kicked off with the addition of ground mustard seeds and contributes to the sour tangy flavor of the brine. In keeping with Ayurvedic traditions, kanji is considered to incorporate the energy of the sun and the earth to aid digestive health during winter. It also provides warmth during the colder months and help empower immunity. 

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Cook Time

20 Minutes + fermentation time



Step 1
Peel the carrots, wash them thoroughly and fill the three 16-oz jars with them.
Step 2
Sprinkle a third of red chile powder in each of them, followed by a teaspoon each of ground mustard seeds. Divide the salt into the 3 jars and fill each jar up with filtered water.
Step 3
Seal the jars tight, give them a quick mix and place them in a sunny spot for a day or two. When bubbles start forming in the jars, the pickle is ready. Once fermented, keep the jars refrigerated.

1.5 to 2 pounds of multicolored carrots

1 teaspoon red chile powder (optional)

3 teaspoons ground yellow mustard seeds

2 teaspoons sea salt

Notes & Variations

  • Rai Kuria’, a split yellow mustard seed, usually available online or at an Indian grocer, works best for kanji. If not, grind whole black mustard seeds however the color of the brine will be slightly muddy.
  • During extreme cold, the fermentation may take up to 4 to 5 days however, once fermented, the kanji keeps for up to 3 months in the refrigerator.
  • To grind the mustard seeds, use a small coffee bean grinder.


You won't want to eat anything else - guaranteed.