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Fenugreek coconut gruel or kanjee (Vendeyam thaengaipal kanjee)

Kanjee, also spelt as kanji or conjee, is basic rice gruel. Indian households and our grandmothers believe in its tremendous health benefits and as a fix for every ailment. This dish is prepared every day as a sort of vitamin boost, but also when folks are sick. The carbohydrates from the rice and the water in the dish give the person hydration and energy.

The origins of kanjee can be traced back to ancient China where it is made with rice with or without other grains. The kanjee is served as a breakfast dish topped with meats like boiled pork, fish, or chicken, roasted sesame oil and scallions. It arrived in India along the spice trade route by traders around the 11th century.

Kanjee is today considered food for the sick, but creative chefs are bringing this dish back to the table. The dish is simple, and in this case, scented with just a few spices, and is an open palate to be paired with anything, especially very spicy and flavourful foods.

This kanjee has a distinct aroma of garlic and a scent of fenugreek. The texture is lovely and soft, drizzled with a large tablespoon of ghee it makes for a perfect dish. However, I paired it with the beautifully spiced Boksa pork, they paired beautifully with complimentary flavours.

This South Indian cookbook brings to my shelf the unique cuisine of the Chettinad Tamils in South India. This, now popular cuisine, is known to be extremely spicy, complex and distinct. This book is a wonderful collection of recipes that makes this cuisine accessible to us at home.

For more recipes from this cookbook click here.


1 cup rice, any small grain rice that has high gluten content. See introduction

1/2 cup coconut milk

1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds

8 garlic cloves, sliced

Salt, to taste

8 cups water, or as specified by your rice cooker

Cilantro, minced, to garnish

Mix all the ingredients and cook on the stove or in a rice cooker as per the cooker's instructions. You should have a lovely thick kanjee.

You can choose to blend the kanjee, but I prefer to keep it with its texture.

Serve hot.

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