Kanji vada is a popular local delight in Rajasthan and also in Gujarat. It consists of small moong dal vadas immersed in a tangy mustard flavoured fermented liquid called Kanji. Traditionally, the Kanji or the 'Rai ka paani' needs to be prepared a day in advance to get a slight tang due to the fermentation process. The soft yet crisp fried vadas are dipped into the kanji the next day just before serving.(Also Read:A Rajput Legacy of Slow-Cooked Game Meat and How the Tradition Originated)
Kanji is also consumed by itself as a beverage in several Rajasthani and Gujarati households for its excellent digestive qualities. Especially during Holi, the drink is served along with or after the heavy sweets and greasy snacks to keep your digestive system stable. As documented in texts like the Kashyapa Samhita, kanjika is described as a sour, fermented rice gruel popular in the south. Kanjika, it would appear, then referred to a class of fermented foods. The north-western kanji is believed to have originated from there.
In his book, 'A Historical Dictionary of Indian Food', Food Historian K. T Acharya defines Kanji as a "Current term for the residual starchy water, from the Sanskrit Kanjika... Frequently the product was left to sour overnight and drunk as a morning beverage, either hot or cold...the acidic liquour was even used , like vinegar to preserve , to preserve fruits like the mango, amla and cucumber. In Gujarat, a dish of fried pulse lumps in soured in rice water is also termed kanji."In his book, 'The Travelling Belly', Food blogger Kalyan Karmakar writes about his tryst with the treat outside the Hawa Mahal in Jaipur. "It looked like dahi vada floating on what looked like rasgulla sugar syrup." He further writes about how pleasantly surprised he was with the delicacy when he finally got to taste it. "These vadas are made of ground moong daal, deep fried and then soaked in water infused with mustard, chillies and tamarind. It detoxes your system and is good for the liver."
You can also try making Kanji Vada at home with this easy recipe.
Ingredients Of Kanji Ke Vade
- 1 kg urad dal
- 1 inch ginger, grated
- Some coriander leaves, chopped
- 2 green chillies, finely diced
- For the base:
- 2 small pieces of asafoetida or heeng
- 3 tsp salt
- 4 tsp rai(mustard seeds) - finely ground
- 2 tsp red chillies-pounded
- 6 jugs water, boiled
- Oil for deep-frying
- Whole red chillies for garnish
- 1 tsp turmeric
How to Make Kanji ke Vade
1. Soak the urad dal overnight and grind to a fine paste. It should have the consistency of batter.
2. Pour into a vessel and whisk till the mixture turns fluffy.
3. Heat oil in a deep frying pan. Test the heat of the oil by dropping a little of the mixture into the pan. If it fluffs up and floats to the surface the oil is ready for frying.
4. Take a piece of wet cloth on your left palm. Mix with some coriander leaves, ginger and green chillies.This allows the vadas to slide off into the pan without difficulty. Pour some of the mixture onto the cloth and flatten it, shaping it into round vadas. Slide these off one by one into the oil and deep-fry them.
5. Continue to fry them until they turn a golden brown colour. Be careful not to make the vadas too thick.
6. Keep a tawa on the fire and put the asafoetida in. Take an earthenware pot and as soon as the asafoetida emits an aroma, turn the pot upside down on the tawa to soak up the smell.
7. Take the pot off the fire and fill it with warm water. Mix the rai, salt, red chilli powder, whole red chillies, turmeric into the water.
8. Put the fried vadas into the pot.
9. Cover the top of the pot with a clean muslin cloth and tie it securely. Leave the pot in the sun for 2-3 days and then it is ready to be served.
About Sushmita SenguptaSharing a strong penchant for food, Sushmita loves all things good, cheesy and greasy. Her other favourite pastime activities other than discussing food includes, reading, watching movies and binge-watching TV shows.