Kanji: A Natural Indian Probiotic

Categories Healing foods0 Comments

A note on probiotics in Indian Context:

Probiotics are healing foods.

I strongly believe that each culture has a well-balanced health program embedded in itself. Every culture has specific rituals, rules and guidelines which include specific foods & recipes to be consumed at specific times of the year, month and even the day.

What actually are probiotics ? Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that are good for your health, especially our digestive system. We usually think of bacteria as something that causes diseases. But our body is full of bacteria, both good and bad. Probiotics are often called “good” or “helpful” bacteria because they help keep our gut healthy. source

Traditionally, we Indians have been consuming probiotics in various forms, multiple times a year. Today when the west talks about probiotics we all seem to jump over the idea and begin to consume commercially available probiotic foods. After all there is an industry to support!

Let’s just look inside – inside our own households, what our grandparents consumed, how they ensured that we consumed probiotics in our day to day lives.

  • Home-made pickles.
    • Lemon
    • Mango
    • Greens – curry leaves, gongura leaves & more
    • Other vegetables – carrots, radish, cauliflower, garlic ginger and more
  • Home-made dairy based probiotics:
    • Curd
    • Butter
    • Buttermilk (Chhaas)
    • Churned curd (Lassi)
  • Home-made fermented foods:
    • Idli
    • Dosa
    • Naan
    • Bhatooras
    • Khameeri roti
  • Home-made probiotic beverages:
    • Kanji

The keyword here is home-made .

It is essential that these be made at home in the most natural environment. No off- the- shelf product will help in your healing journey. There may be immediate benefits you feel, though I haven’t seen the benefits last. In fact over a period of time, off- the- shelf probiotics have only caused more damage.

Take Charge!

Have you ever wondered why the home-made curd becomes sour pretty soon, whereas the packaged ones from the market are sweet even after a week of packaging?  Why the prepacked dosa batter over ferments even when kept in the cold? Please be more observant and ask more questions. If you are curious, you will find out why!

This is an attempt to list the natural probiotics I know of, the ones I used for my son’s healing. And yes they worked!

Hope and pray they work for you too. Prayers work even when everything else fails.


Including here the recipe of Kanji , a carrot based natural Indian probiotic drink. The reason I am including the last one in the list as my first inclusion on the blog is for two reasons: firstly it is not as well known as the others. secondly you can only benefit from this drink when these specific carrots are in season and that is NOW.

Change of season is that time of the year that our bodies need the most care. And we, the gluten intolerant/ sensitive folks need all the extra care possible at any time of the year.

Black carrots are available only during the change of season, around Feb /March. These carrots are called the black carrots and have a slight purple shade to them.

Kanji is a traditional probiotic made in the change of season, while moving from winters to summers. It is a sour and salty drink which can be enjoyed even with food.

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Kanji: A Natural Indian Probiotic
  1. Mix all the ingredients in a ceramic jar and stir well.
  2. Move it to the sunny part of the house during the day and move them back inside during the night.
  3. Keep stirring as often as you can.
  4. Wait till the bitter taste from mustard seeds gives way to a tangy drink.
Recipe Notes
  • I use rocksalt for it's taste as well as health benefits.
  • Half the salt could be replaced with black salt as well.
  • No chili should be added to this drink for it to assist healing.
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