Pazhankanji, or previous day’s kanji (rice gruel), which was once the staple breakfast among a large section of society in Kerala, is now recognized as a nutritious dish, offering health and strength. Daily consumption of Fermented rice in the morning resulted in an improved bioavailability of micro nutrients and minerals (iron, potassium, calcium, manganese, Vitamin B6 & B12) which gave necessary energy and nutritional support as well as kept the body cool the whole day of hard toil.
It is made by adding water at room temperature to leftover rice after supper and keeping the mixture overnight. By morning, some fermentation takes place and the nutrition content goes up significantly. The taste too changes dramatically. Ideally ‘kanthari’ chilli and salt, along with thick curd accompanies pazhankanji.
Take 1 cup of rice (boiled brown rice); wash it till the water becomes clean, changing water 4 to 5 times. Take a pot/pressure cooker and put the rice in, add 4 cups of water; boil it till the rice becomes soft.
If you use a pressure cooker switch off the stove after 3 whistles and let it cool. Once cooled open the cooker and add hot water if the water is less. This same rice could be kept for fermenting.
Take a mud pot (steel also could be used) add cooked rice, pour water, level of water should be at least 2 inches above the rice, cover with a lid and keep for over night.
Next morning, take the rice together with the water and pour into a deep vessel or bowl, add some salt for taste, smash some green chilies and small onions (smash it, don’t chop it; because taste differs), add them with the rice, stir well and consume.
If some curd or salted mango is added, the taste will be awesome. Those who suffer from acidity, ulcer or any other stomach disorders avoid chili.
- Being a fermented item, this provides more nutrients and energy to the body. For instance, while 100 gm of rice contains 3.4 mg iron, the same rice when changed into pazhankanji will have 73.91 mg of iron.
- Pazhankanji also provides potassium, which controls blood pressure. Some studies have indicated that the dish helps to prevent cancer.
- One dish of pazhankanji has 340 calories, which is equivalent to three idlis, but is more beneficial as it contains rice as well as water.
- Calcium, magnesium and selenium, which are essential for the bones are present in the gruel. Vitamin B 6 and 12, which the body absorbs easily, are in plenty in pazhankanji. As a result, it helps recovery from fatigue quickly.
- Another area where the dish is useful is digestion. It can check acidity as well as ulcers and prevent constipation.
- As plenty of anti-oxidants are present, pazhankanji helps retains the glow and youth of the skin.
- When rice gruel ferments, lactic acid is produced, which is beneficial for lactating mothers. Though it is a soothing remedy for heat-related conditions, pazhankanji is not suitable for people suffering from phlegm-related diseases and rheumatism.