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Friday, July 15, 2016

Torani Kanji ( Fermented rice water and vegetable soup from Odisha )

Kanjee is one of those coolants from Odisha that also doubles up as a soup .Or maybe it is just an excuse to sample this delicious liquid goodness throughout the year !! And why not when it is available in multiple flavors. There is a pariba kanjee, khada kanjee, saga kanjee, dahi kanjee and the most delicious of all, the 'Torani Kanjee'. Hats off to the Odia ladies of yore who had the ingenuity to make delicious meals out of frugal resources !! It is tough to believe that bringing about a slight change in the ingredients can alter the taste to such an extent.

One needs to plan well in advance to prepare this dish. Water discarded from cooked rice is collected over days and stored in an earthenware pot which allows it to ferment and develop a sour taste. It is a bit of a technical process wherein we retain half of the previous day's rice water and mix it with the current day's lot after it has been cooled and diluted. It is a slow and elaborate process which is worth the wait. I still get nostalgic remembering the huge pots in which my grandmother used to brew and simmer this thing. It has a particularly strong aroma ( somewhat pungent actually ) that is sure to tickle the olfactory ducts of the neighbors. Hence the generous quantity in which is it prepared.

While one can enjoy the 'Kanjee' all around the year, the abundance of vegetables and leafy greens (especially 'kosala sagaw') during the winter months make it a must-have during the fall. There is something very soothing about sipping 'Kanjee' from a big bowl while enjoying the wintry sun. So, here is the recipe of the 'Torani Kanjee' which I got from Mom after a lot of advice and deliberation. 'Keep the torani carefully covered', 'do not let it become too stale and smelly', 'remember to throw away half of the pervious lot when you mix in the fresh one', and so on. Guess it is ingrained in a mother's psyche to keep the advise coming even after we are completely grown up.

Read on for the recipe -

















Preparation Time - 30 mins

Ingredients -


  • 2-3 litres of torani (rice water)
  • 1/2 cup radish slices
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin pieces
  • 1/4 cup green papaya slices
  • 1 small eggplant ( cut into semi-circles) 
  • 6-7 okra ( cut into inch long pieces
  • 10-12 fat garlic cloves
  • 4-5 dry red chili
  • 2 sprigs of curry leaves
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 2 pinch kala jeera
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 3 tsp mustard oil
  • 3-4 pieces of ambula ( dried green mango )
  • salt to taste

Preparation - Collect the excess water after cooking rice. Dilute it with a cup of water. 

Drop in a piece of ambula and cover the vessel with a thin cloth . Let it stand overnight.

Again collect the rice water on the next day. Dilute and allow to cool down completely. 

Throw away half of the previous day's rice water along with the ambula. Add the fresh lot along with another fresh piece of ambula. Let it stand overnight.

Repeat this process for 3-4 days. Once the torani starts to smell a bit pungent and taste sour, we can proceed for the kanjee.

Cooking - Dilute the torani with 2-3 cups water and transfer to a deep saucepan. Add salt to taste and a bit of turmeric. Bring it to a full boil. (be careful as it tends to rise and come out of the vessel )

Add the chopped vegetables to the torani. Let it boil on a medium flame till all the vegetables are cooked.

Check for salt and sourness. If it lacks enough tang, drop in 1-2 pieces of ambula.

















Heat the oil in a tempering pan.  Once it starts to smoke, reduce heat. Add the broken chilis, mustard and kala jeera .Quickly follow with the crushed garlic and curry leaves. Once the garlic turns brown on the edges, pour the contents of the tempering pan over the kanjee.

Let it boil for another 2-3 mins before removing from the flame.

Serve hot or at room temperature.

















It can be stored in the fridge for 2-3 days .
















The veggies I have used -


5 comments:

  1. It's so interesting to read about the process. I'd love to taste it some day!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah...you should really try this one ! It is most amazing :). Thanks for dropping by :)

      Delete
  2. Loved this recipe. Am going to try this soon.

    ReplyDelete

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