Kanji Vada…the name itself fills your mouth with lots of tanginess. Kanji Vada, adds a zing to the normal food, and is not only tangy & delicious but is therapeutic too.
It’s surprising that plain water with some spices tastes so delicious. Though we add Vada to this water but it is not necessary. Instead of Vada, at times we add carrots/ radish/ potatoes to it and even then it tastes yummy. However, adding Vadas make it exotic.Jump to Recipe
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What Is Kanji?
For those who are hearing this word for the first time let me tell a little about it.
Kanji is nothing but fermented water. The plain water is naturally fermented by adding mustard seeds powder. Except for salt, all other spices like chilli powder asafoetida, cumin powder are optional and depend on individual preferences. As I said earlier, anything can be added to this kanji be it veggies or Vada made with lentils.
It’s a specialty of North India especially Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan. You can easily find vendors on the streets selling this kanji vada in big earthen pots. It is commonly made in households especially around Holi.
Holi Kanji Recipe
I really love our culture and traditions associated with it. Each and every festival is associated with something specific having a significant relevance attached to it. Modak on Ganesh Chaturthi, Til Chikki on Sankranti, Paag on Janamashtmi, sweets on Diwali and so on.
Holi, the festival of colors, is very well associated with various food items too. There are many food items like Gunjia, Thandai, Kanji vada, chat etc which are synonyms to Holi. About 10 days prior to Holi, these preparations are on full swing. As I make Gunjias my sons get an idea that Holi is about to come.
How To Make Kanji Vada?
As I said, Kanji Vada is simply fermented water in which fried lentil vadas are immersed. But the recipe for this simple drink varies from person to person, region to region and thus no fixed recipe for making it. Some make vadas with urad dal, others with moong dal whereas some prefer mixing both the lentils. Similarly, some people like to add lots of spices o the vadas whereas others prefer plain vada.
Kanji Vada, tastes good with whatever way it is made. It’s just a matter of preference and taste that you are used to. What is important is that the kanji (water) should be sour and tangy.
I am sharing here my way of making Kanji Vada, the way it is made in our families.
For Kanji Vada, we first prepare Vadas. These vadas are made with either split black gram (Urad Dal) or with Split Green Gram (Yellow Moong Dal). We make vadas using both these lentils, though more of Split Green Gram and very less of Split Black Gram. The two lentils are soaked for a few hours, then ground into a paste. Thereafter, vadas are fried with this batter. And lastly, these vadas are added to water along with spices. Then these are left for about a week during which the water gets tangy as it ferments and this sourness is equally transferred to the vadas in it. Thus the plain Vadas now taste flavoured.
Qualities Of Good Kanji Vada
Though its a simple recipe but still a good kanji vada should have 2 qualities:
But when the fried vadas are added to the water, doesn’t the oil floats on the top? The answer is NO. A good Kanji does not have even a single trace of oil despite the fried Vadas in it. At my place, no one relishes the kanji with oil floating atop.
To ensure this, the fried vadas are first soaked in plain water. All the oil gets into this water. Then the vadas are squeezed, removing the excess water. And then these Vadas are put in the Kanji water. I repeat the process twice to ensure that my Kanji remains oil-free.
2. Soft vadas:
Only soft vadas will absorb the tanginess of water. And at the same time, these should not be too soft, else will dissolve in the kanji.
Benefits Of Kanji Vada
As I said in the beginning that this kanji water is therapeutic too. Yes, this Kanji is not only good in taste but is full of medicinal values too.
- It detoxifies the liver
- It is excellent for digestion.
- This is a much-preferred drink in Ayurveda. Read here to know about its benefits in Ayurveda.
Detailed Recipe Of Kanji Vada With Step By Step Pics
- First of all. soak the lentils for 3 to 4 hours. If the weather is cool, then soak it a little longer, maybe up to 6 hours. When the lentils are properly soaked, they will not only swell but will easily break into 2 when pressed between the fingers.
- Now, drain off the excess water and grind these lentils into a fine paste. Add very little water, if required, while grinding.
- Beat the batter for 3 to 4 minutes either with hands or an electric beater or whisk. The batter will become fluffy which in turn will lead to soft Vadas. Do not beat too much, if the vadas are too soft then they dissolve/break in the water and hence are not good.
- Heat oil in a pan. When the oil is very hot, lower the flame and fry vadas in it.
- Fry all the Vadas and keep them aside.
- Take enough water in a wide pan and soak vadas in it.
- After about 15 minutes, remove the Vadas by squeezing with both the hands.
- You will be surprised to see the quantity of oil floating on the water.
- Repeat the process. See the oil after the second soak. If not done this oil would have got in the kanji.
- Now, in a 2 litre jar, fill 1 litre water. This is because we will be adding Vadas too. Add spices and mix. Gently add the squeezed Vadas.
- Cover the lid. If possible, keep this jar in sunlight or at a warm place in your kitchen.
- Stir it daily but very carefully taking care that the vadas are not broken. It is better if you use a wooden ladle. Just insert it inside the jar and stir lightly.
- It gets ready in 3 to 4 days depending on the weather. In winter, it takes upto a week also. You know it is ready when mustard seeds powder float on the top and it tastes tangy.
- At the time of serving, stir it, put one or two vadas and lots of kanji.
- For making it spicier, add little green chutney at the time of serving.
- at the time of serving, add little boondi along with vadas.
- Make little extra vadas and enjoy Ram Laddoo. For the recipe of Ram laddoo click here. Though the recipe is slightly different but you can very well use these vadas also.
Kanji Vada adds a zing to the festival of Holi. Step by step pics with tips to make Kanji Vada which is not only tangy and delicious but is therapeutic too.
- 3/4 Cup Yellow Moong Dal
- 1/4 Cup White Urad Dal
- A Pinch Asafoetida
- Oil For Frying
- 1 litre Water
- 3/4 Tbsp Salt
- 1 Tbsp Mustard Seeds Powder
- 1/4 tsp Red Chilli Powder
First of all. soak the lentils for 3 to 4 hours. If the weather is cool, then soak it little longer, may be up to 6 hours. When the lentils are properly soaked, they will not only swell but will easily break into 2 when pressed between the fingers.
Now, drain off the excess water and grind these lentils into a fine paste. Add very little water, if required, while grinding.
Beat the batter for 3 to 4 minutes either with hands or an electric beater or whisk. The batter will become fluffy which in turn will lead to soft Vadas. Do not beat too much, if the vadas are too soft then they dissolve/break in the water and hence are not good.
Heat oil in a pan. When the oil is very hot, lower the flame and fry vadas in it.
Fry all the Vadas and keep them aside.
Take enough water in a wide pan and soak vadas in it.
After about 15 minutes, remove the vads by squeezing with both the hands. You will be surprised to see the quantity of oil floating on the water.
Repeat the process.
Now, in a 2 litre jar, fill 1 litre water. Add spices and mix. Gently add the squeezed Vadas.
If possible, keep the jar in the sunlight otherwise at any other warm spot in your kitchen. Stir it daily with light hands taking care that vadas do not break.
After about 4 to 5 days, mustard seeds will swell and the water will taste tangy too.
To serve, put one or two Vadas in a glass/bowl and fill it with kanji (fermented water).
You can add little green coriander chutney for making it spicy.
Once ready, it remains good up to a week only thereafter the taste starts deteriorating. To increase its shelf life you can keep it in the refrigerator After it is ready.
- Kanji takes a minimum of 4 to 5 days to get properly tangy. In cold weather, it may take up to a week or a little more.
- Do soak the vadas twice in plain water to get rid of all excess oil.
- Adjust salt as per your taste. Taste kanji after 3 to 4 days, if need be, add little more salt.
- Be gentle while stirring kanji in the jar, taking care that the vadas remain intact.
- I do not add spices or salt while making Vadas as they absorb it well while soaked in the kanji. However, you may add red chilli powder, and other spices to it if you have a liking for it.
- Once the kanji gets ready and if the weather is hot then you can keep it in the refrigerator also.
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