Kanji payar recipe from Kerala (also known as ganji recipe in many parts of South India) is one of the most popular traditional dinner food recipes from Kerala, which is delicious, healthy and easy combination of rice soup and green mung beans.
Kerala matta rice is popularly used in Kerala food pereparations including kanji, however, I am using white basmati rice here which is more easily available for me, and also it is more easy to cook.
And this dish is very delicious, simple and easy with basmati rice as well!
What Is Kanji?
Kanji is a malayalam word which actually means rice soup, where rice is cooked with an excess of water and this water is not drained out.
The prepared rice with the water used to prepare it is served for dinner along with cooked green mung beans/green grams or red cowpeas.
This rice soup with green grams is an Indian recipe and to be specific, this is a South Indian Kerala style recipe which is a very popular, traditional, simple, delicious and healthy recipe perfect for a light dinner.
This prepared rice with water is kind of rice soup and in Kerala you usually find boiled brown rice used more popularly.
You can also use white rice for the preparation, but as I mentioned, boiled brown rice popularly known as Kerala rice is usually used for the preparation.
The brown rice used popularly in Kerala is known as matta rice, which is actually kind of reddish brown in color.
In my pictures here, you will see white rice soup of kanji made of white rice, as I didn't have the Kerala style matta rice or brown rice with me.
In my parents home, they almost always prepare the brown rice kanji with payar for dinner which I loved to have while I grew up, and I still love to enjoy the dish at any time of the day.
Kanji with payar recipe is simple to make and we enjoy it like the most delicious Kerala food in the world 🙂 yes, it is obviously so yummy especially if you enjoy it with delicacies like spicy mango pickle and dry coconut chutney made without gravy and also papad which is the Kerala style fried wafers made of urad dal.
Payar is the malayalam word for green mung bean, cowpeas and similar varieties of legumes and you can see that the most popular payar used along with kanji in kerala are cherupayar (green mung beans) and also vanpayar (red cowpeas), and cherupayar or green mung beans is the most popular out of these. There are other kind of legumes that are also used with kanji or Kerla rice soup, like muthira payar (horsegram).
And most commonly the green grams are prepared with coconut and spices to go with the rice soup, even though you can also prepare the green mung beans without coconut and enjoy it with rice soup (in that case usually you do a a tadka or seasoning with fried mustard seeds, curry leaves and red chilies to mix with the cooked mung beans).
The mung beans or cowpeas (or horsegram) prepared with coconut in Kerala style is generally known as payar thoran and you can use cherupayar thoran or vanpayar thoran with kanji or Kerala style rice soup.
Below you can see recipes for cherupayar thoran and vanpayar thoran which can be served with kanji or Kerala style rice soup.
See here cherupayar thoran recipe - green mung beans with coconut recipe
See here vanpayar thoran recipe - red cowpeas with coconut recipe
How To Make Kanji & Payar?
I will show you how to make Kanji to serve with payar or green mung beans prepared with coconut.
I am using white basmati rice here for the preparation of kanji or rice soup.
If you use any other kind of white rice like Kerala style matta rice or any other variety of brown rice or white rice, follow the instructions on the package on how to cook the rice and how much water you need to cook the rice and use extra water like about 2 to 3 cups extra so you will have extra water for the rice soup.
I do not add salt to the kanji or rice soup as you will have enough salt in the cooked mung beans or payar thoran, but that is your choice and you can add salt if you wish.
If you are adding the salt, you can add it with the rice and water as you cook it, or you can prepare the rice soup and just mix the salt as needed.
This way, if you are serving the kanji or rice soup for anyone else, they will have the choice to have it with or without the salt.
To learn how to make kanji payar recipe, you need to learn how to make Kerala kanji recipe and you need to learn how to make Kerala style payar thoran to serve with kanji.
So to learn how to make kanji payar recipe, first let us learn how to make kerala kanji following Kerala kanji recipe and I have recipes for Kerala style payar thoran in my blog for both cherupayar thoran recipe and vanpayar thoran recipe, so I will link to those recipes too from this page.
So you can learn how to make kanji and how to make payar thoran for kanji and serve the kanji and payar for dinner!
So here is how you can prepare the rice kanji or rice soup Kerala style following this easy kanji payar recipe with ingredients and instructions for preparing both rice soup and cherupayar thoran in pressure cooker using whole green mung beans.
I am giving the ingredients and instructions for how to make easy cherupayar thoran/green mung beans thoran in a pressure cooker, since we already have a cherupayar thoran recipe in a pan (without using pressure cooker here).
Kanji Payar Recipe Kerala Style (Rice Soup)
For kanji/rice soup
- 1 cup white basmati rice (if you use Kerala matta rice or another variety, you have to adjust the cooking time and water accordingly)
- 3 cups water
- salt as required, optional
For cherupayar thoran/green mung beans thoran
- 1 cup green mung beans (cherupayar)
- 1 cup coconut grated or shredded may add a little more
- salt as needed
- ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
- ½ teaspoon red chili powder
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
- 2 garlic cloves crushed
- 2 green chilies
- 3 cups water
For seasoning (optional)
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- ½ teaspoon brown mustard seeds
- 4 dry red chilies (broken)
- curry leaves a few
To prepare the rice soup if you are using a pot or pan
- Wash the rice and transfer the rice to the pot.
- Add the water to the pot with rice and start heating the water by heating on high heat (with the pot open).
- As the water starts boiling, reduce the heat to very low heat, close the pot and cook for about 10 minutes.
- After 10 minutes, you can open the pot, you can see that your rice is cooked nicely and it has enough water in it with the consistency of soup, so you can use it as rice soup or kanji.
- If you feel you want more water for the soup, feel free to add more and you may heat it for another 1 or 2 minutes so the rice soup will blend very nicely. Now the simple and easy rice soup or kanji is ready!S
To prepare the rice soup if you are using a pressure cooker
- Wash the rice and transfer the rice to the pressure cooker.
- Add the water, mix well and close the pressure cooker with the lid. While using the pressure cooker, make sure you are following the directions and guidelines mentioned in the manual including the use of safety valve as this is very important for safety.
- Cook in medium for about 8 to 10 minutes or until the first whistle has come.
- After 10 minutes, you can switch off the stove and wait the for the pressure cooker to cool down.
- Once the pressure cooker is cool enough, you can open the cooker and see if your rice is cooked with the right consistency of rice soup. If needed you can add more water and cook for few more minutes (keeping the cooker open without lid) or until the right consistency of rice soup is reached. Serve the prepared rice kanji or Kerala style rice soup with payar thoran and enjoy the Kerala style traditional dinner!
To prepare the cherupayar thoran/green mung beans thoran using pressure cooker
- Add the washed green mung beans (cherupayar) to the pressure cooker.
- Add enough salt and also 3 cups of water to the cooker, mix well.
- Close the pressure cooker with lid and safety valve and cook the contents for about 6 minutes or until one whistle comes (green mung beans cook fast). Wait for the pressure cooker to cool down.
- Meanwhile, coarsely grind the coconut, garlic, cumin seeds and green chilies, keep this grind mixture aside.
- Once the pressure cooker is cooled enough, open the cooker and add the grind coconut mixture and also the spice powders - turmeric powder and red chili powder to the cooker, gently mix in and cook in low to medium heat for another 2 minutes (no need to close the pressure cooker) and delicious and healthy cherupayar thoran or green mung beans thoran is ready which you can serve with the kanji/rice soup as it is or you can add seasoning also (instructions below) for a traditional Kerala style dinner.
To prepare the optional seasoning for cherupayar thoran
- Heat the oil in a small pan and add the mustard seeds.
- When the mustard seeds splutter (make sure they splutter, otherwise that will taste bitter), add the broken dry red chilies and curry leaves and lightly fry for a few seconds.Now the Kerala style seasoning is ready which you can pour over the prepared payar curry if you wish, to make it even more delicious!
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