by - June 09, 2018


       Kanji is a simple Rice Gruel or Rice Porridge, a common and daily food of every Malayali.   Though light to stomach, it is loaded with energy boosting elements to give you all the strength for the toil of the day. It serves best as a simple and soothing food to rejuvenate a tiring day. Either had as a breakfast or as a dinner. Kanjiyum Payarum, Chammanthiyum(Spicy Condiment) pinne Chutta Pappadavum. Payar usually comprises Green Moong Bean/Red Bean Stir Fried with mild seasoning and grated coconut, Chammanthi is Kerala style dry spicy condiment prepared with coconut, mango, onions, Green chillies/dry chillies or dried shrimps. Pappadam can be deep-fried in Coconut oil for an authentic flavour, or just dry roast the Pappadam over direct flame for Chutta Pappadam.
      Though I have quite a lot of memories and anecdotes related to  Kanjiyum Payarum, I am not a big fan of this humble dish.  My vague and first memory of Kanji starts at my Grandmother's place.  My Grandfather eating his glorified breakfast - Kanji in his prestigious Black rimmed Pinjaanam (a Porcelain Bowl).  He would eat it out with a Plavila Kumbil, so-called Organic spoon of these days, a simple ready to use spoons made out of Jackfruit leaves.  What fancied me at that age was not the Kanji, but the beautiful Plavila Kumbil.
     At my mother's place, Kanji has and has been a part and parcel of our day-to-day life.  My father has kanji for his breakfast, but my mother caters different versions, like Paal Kanji, Gothambu Kanji(Broken Wheat Porridge), Pazhangkanji etc., But I don't even remember a day eating Porridge.  Even if I am sick, I would somehow skip it by nibbling a Slice of Bread, but never Kanji.
    En route to Sabarimala with my Dad, I had seen small shacks flaunting their special dish Kanji Kappa(Rice Porridge and Tapioca stir-fry).  I had always thought what is so special about the dish that they are selling it in restaurants.  My thought was would anybody go to a restaurant to eat Kanji, but to my surprise I found people flocking around these shacks for Kanji & Kappa. Least unaware of the comforting and all the more filling nature of the dish.
    It is a common scenario as in every Malayali household to cook Kanji for breakfast, and it was also a routine at my husband's place. I have to mention that my husband and my FIL used to escape this Kanji routine stealthily and end up having their breakfast at Annapoorna Gowrisankar. The irony was that my MIL was oblivious of the fact. But gradually I started preparing other dishes for breakfast that my MIL stopped making Kanji which made my MIL say that "Marumakal Kanji Kudi Muttichu", which literally has a distinguished meaning.
    All these years I had been escaping from the idea of eating Kanji - Rice Porridge, somehow or the other.  But my destiny has brought me into a compulsive point where I am allowed to eat, the one & only Kanji during my eye treatment. While I was in Kerala for an Ayurvedic treatment for my eye condition, I survived literally on this only dish for 20 days(I was not allowed to eat anything else). Even I am asked to cleanse my body twice a month, where I am allowed to have Kanji on those days.  Alas, there comes a point where we would devour on something we don't fancy, which made me realise it is one simple and easy to digest dish.  I glorify the simple Kanji (trying to convince myself) by accompanying it with a wide range of side dishes like Vegetable Thorans/Mezhukkupuratti, Green Moong Dhal (Pachapayar/Cherupayar) Thoran or Red Bean(Vanpayar/Vellapayar) Thoran, Puzhukku, Chammanthis, Achar and Pappadam.
     We can use any type of Rice Variety for Kanji, Kerala Matta Rice, Podi Ari(broken rice), Parboiled Rice or any White or Brown long grain variety suits well. Even left-over cooked rice can be used to make Kanji.  Pour few cups of water and boil it until the rice is softer.  In olden days it was a Poor Man's dish(where rice was a Vanity), which gradually took over the large crowd due to its energy boosting nature and medicinal values.  The plain and subtle taste of a Kanji along with the richness of starch, in addition to the water in the Kanji (Kanji Vellam/Starchy Water), makes it ideal to cleanse the system whilst providing energy.

For more Recipes FROM GODS OWN COUNTRY, Click here...

Cuisine - Kerala (South India)
Course - Main Course
Difficulty - Low
Serves - 3- 4  
Author - SM               

Preparation Time - 5 -10 Minutes
Cooking Time - 20 - 30 Minutes


Par-boiled Rice - 1/2 Cup
Water - 5-6 Cups
Salt - To Taste.





  • Wash the rice for at least 4-5 times or until the water runs clear.
  • Boil the water in a Pressure Cooker.
  • When the water starts to boil, gradually add the Rice along with a dash of Salt into it.
  • Cover the Pressure Cooker with the lid and cook on a high flame for 3-4 Whistles.
  • Lower the flame and cook for other 4-5 whistles.
  • Switch off the flame and wait for the pressure to release.
  • Remove the lid and stir the Kanji with a wooden ladle.
  • Adjust the consistency to suit your preference.


  • Wash the rice for at least 4-5 times or until the water runs clear.
  • Boil the water in a Saucepan or a pot big enough to hold the ingredients.
  • When the water starts to boil, gradually add the Rice along with a dash of Salt into it.
  • Cook on a high flame for about 10-15 minutes.
  • Stir and then lower the flame.
  • Cover the Saucepan with a lid and cook for another 35-40 Minutes or until the rice is well cooked.
  • Stir the ingredients occasionally while cooking.
  • Adjust the consistency to suit your preference.



     If you have a batch of left-over Rice, then you can get it incorporated within minutes.


Cooked Rice - 1/2 Cup
Water - 1- 11/4 Cups
Salt - To Taste


  • Take cooked Rice in a wide bowl big enough to hold the Rice and Water.
  • Pour in the Water and allow it to boil for about 2-3 minutes on high flame.
  • Lower the flame to medium and cook for another 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Adjust the consistency to suit your preference.
  • Alternatively, you can cook the bowl of Rice in Microwave for 5-7 minutes, uncovered at high (power level 10).
  • If you have the Congee/Porridge Button in the Microwave, you can use it to cook Kanji.
  • If using a Pressure cooker, cook on a high flame for 2 Whistles and another couple of whistles on a low flame.


  • Adjust the Rice Water Ratio as per the Rice Variety you are using for Kanji.


     Serve Kanji - Rice Porridge with any of the following Pickles/Condiments/Side dishes or any dish of your choice. Or serve Kanji with a Pappadam(traditional Kerala Pappadam (fried in Coconut Oil)/Chutta Pappadam.

Chammanthi/Condiments :

Pickles :

Stir-fry/Curries :


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    1. I tried this and even after 12 cups of water for a cup of rice, the kanji was still too thick. Seems you need at least 1:16 proportion of water!

      1. Hi,
        Thanks for sharing your insights. It sounds like you had quite the adventure with your pot of Kanji. Different rice varieties can play a major role in how much water they soak up. 🤔 So, if you're using a specific type of rice, adjusting the water proportion is a clever trick to nail that perfect Kanji consistency. Keep experimenting and tasting. Remember, the joy of cooking is all about finding those little tweaks that make a dish truly your own and keeping the culinary adventures alive!
        Happy cooking, and may your future bowls of Kanji be as perfect as it is.🥣
        Cheers from your friendly food aficionado!


    2. You are right!!Thats the proportion I was told about in my Ayurvedic cooking class



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