As a Ramadan tradition and staple, South Indian states see a very popular rice kanji being made. It has many health benefits and is a good way to break the fast. Also, this Ganji recipe is quite easy and can be made by almost anyone!
What is Kanji/Ganji?
If this name is unfamiliar to you, you may have heard of the popular dish “congee” prepared in most Asian countries. This is a type of thick rice porridge or soup with vegetables and sometimes meat and nuts. This really depends on your taste preference or depending on which part of the world you hail from.
In Tamil Nadu, Ganji rice has minced meat added with vegetables like peas, carrots, and beans. It is a very popular dish especially during Ramadan and you will also find mosques distributing bowls of this.
How to Make Rice Ganji/Kanji?
As the dish moves to different parts of the world, recipes change and adaptations are invented. However, this is a very traditional recipe that is still used in my grandparents’ homes.
The first step is to grind the rice just until it is broken in halves. My mother likes to first soak rice and let it out to dry before this step but that is optional.
When preparing the rice kanji, roast moong dal for a bit on a pan. Make sure you don’t burn the dal as it’s too easy to let it brown for long. If you are unsure, start on a low flame.
Since this is a one-pot recipe, you can add the below-mentioned ingredients for Ganji like the rice, spices, onions, and ginger garlic paste in a pressure cooker and let it cook to enjoy a nice Iftar!
Below, we make a masala ganji that uses onions, tomatoes, and spices. If you would like to go for the authentic recipe, feel free to avoid using these ingredients, and follow the other steps.
Rice Kanji Recipe/ Ganji Recipe Step by Step:
- Pressure Cooker
- A pan to roast moong dal
- 1 cup rice
- 1/4 kg minced meat
- 1/4 cup moong dal roasted
- 1 small onion finely sliced
- 1 small tomato chopped
- 1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
- 1/2 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- 4 cloves
- 2 cardamom pods
- 1-2 cinnamon sticks
- Handful of mint leaves
- 4 tbsp oil
- 2 tbsp ghee
- 8 cups water
- Salt to taste
- Grind the rice in a blender until just broken into small pieces. Don't grind for too long as we don't need a powder form
- Roast the moong dal in a pan over medium flame until it is slightly brown. Be careful not to burn it
- In a pressure cooker, add oil, cinnamon sticks, cardamom, and cloves and sauté for about 1 minute
- Add onion and ginger garlic paste and fry till the onions turn transparent
- Add minced meat, chilli powder, turmeric powder and salt and let it cook
- Then add in the tomatoes. Once the tomatoes become mushy, add mint leaves and water to the cooker
- When the water starts boiling, add the rice and moong dal. Now, close the lid and let it cook for about 30-35 minutes
- Serve hot with pakoras and chutney (optional)
For the Simple White Ganji, follow the same steps as above but remove minced meat, chili powder, turmeric powder, and tomatoes.
Other alternatives: Besides the usual rice ganji, there are other variations with different grains. You can try oats, bajra, ragi, wheat, and maize too. Some common types are oats kanji, ragi kanji, moong dal kanji, and kaali gajar kanji (seasonal black carrot drink made during winters)
For ingredients, try to make changes by adding chicken/mutton bones or more vegetables.
This is the recipe for savory ganji primarily made in Tamil Nadu. There are also sweet versions using jaggery and milk. You can try out a number of recipes actually. Get creative!
Benefits of Kanji:
Apart from being such an easy ganji recipe, there are lots of benefits to this dish:
- It fills up the stomach and stops you from binging on unhealthy snacks
- It aids in digestion
- Avoids dehydration
In some families, ganji is a staple dish served to patients or the sick due to the above benefits and also its consistency which is easy to eat.
How to Serve Ganji?
Ganji is usually served with a side of chutney and fried snacks like samosas or pakoras. In case both aren’t on your Iftar dish list, then top it with some sev for a crunchy texture to the dish or just enjoy on its own!
What do you break your fast with? Do you have any soup recipes to share?
Signing off now! xx
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