Torani Kanji ( Fermented rice water and vegetable soup from Odisha )
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
- 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
Check for salt and sourness. If it lacks enough tang, drop in 1-2 pieces of ambula.