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kanji payar recipe

Kanji Payar Recipe Kerala Style (Rice Soup)

Kanji and payar (rice soup served with mung beans, cowpeas etc) is a very traditional South Indian Kerala style light dinner.
Kerala style kanji is usually prepared using Kerala matta rice which is a kind of parboiled reddish brown rice, but here I am using white basmati rice for the ease of preparation and also because it is more easily available to me.
This is vegetarian and vegan as well, and also it is very easy to prepare, light, healthy and delicious!
We can either prepare the rice soup using a rice cooker, a pot or pan, or using a pressure cooker or instant pot.
I will have instructions for both pot (or pan) and pressure cooker recipes for rice soup below.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 5
Calories 438kcal


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!


There is another way of preparing Kerala style kanji payar using rice and cherupayar (mung beans) by cooking them together in the same pressure cooker and this is a different style of preparation which is more easy to do as well.
If I post the recipe for one pot kanji payar recipe in my blog, I will link to the recipe from here.
The Kerala style seasoning using coconut oil, mustard seeds and red chilies is not a must, but adding it will make the dish more delicious.
You may also prepare the seasoning in the same pressure cooker where you prepared the cherupayar thoran, by making it in the beginning before you add the green mung beans to the cooker and thus make it even more easier.
As I mentioned, you can also serve the kanji or Kerala style rice soup with thoran made of other varieties of legumes like red cowpeas, horsegrams etc though the green mung beans (cherupayar) thoran is the most popular and traditional combination.


Calories: 438kcal | Carbohydrates: 65g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Sodium: 96mg | Potassium: 784mg | Fiber: 11g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 452IU | Vitamin C: 57mg | Calcium: 88mg | Iron: 4mg