Ramzan nombu kanji

ramzan nombu kanji

Enjoy a nutritious Nombu kanji gruel that helps to ease into breaking fast during the long intermittent fasting times. Aptly named the Ramzan kanji or nombu kanji this soft-cooked porridge with rice, moong dal and vegetables is a vegan version of the traditional Iftar kanji.

The fasting season of Ramazan is about prayer, offering and nourishment both to the soul and body this is called nombu or nolumbu’ in Malayalam. Having lived in northern Kerala, these times are a lit of cherished memories. One of the important learnings was the changes the body experiences when undertaking multiple fasting days. It was interesting to learn the human body’s response to these fasting sessions and then relate to the people I have experienced it with. 

What foods are preferred to break a fast?

It was a learning to understand the change to ketosis when one is fasting. Whatever the reason for the fasting, the body removes unhealthy cells, kind of like autophagy. Once the fast is over, breaking the fast therefore should be done with foods that are gentle on the stomach. porridge smoothies, juices and soups were preferred to break the fast. These are also rich in minerals that need replenishment for the body.

Food ideas for iftar

Typically the breaking of the fast is with water and dates. Following this, the stomach is still not ready to have heavy or fried foods so some juices and smoothies are good.

  • A watermelon cherry smoothie or green juice is a good starting point.
  • Porridge-like preparations are also delightful Arrowroot drink and Semolina porridge are popular in Malabar during iftar.
  • Soups like quinoa corn soup or green soup are useful too. When it comes to South Indian or South Asian cuisines, there are so many grain gruels that perform the same function like the elaneer kanji or congee.

This nombu kanji is such a recipe that helps to break the fast effectively.

Ingredients for Ramzan Kanji

Nombu kanji is typically made with meat and grains. However, my version is vegan one similar to the one I have had with my friends breaking fast for Iftar.

  • Rice: The nombu kanji recipe is made with short-grain rice grits. You can buy the rice grits as such from the grocer or make it by yourself. The rice grits I have used are idly rice rava. This is easy to cook and soft to accommodate the porridge-like consistency. We have earlier used the same to make rice rava payasam ( dessert)
  • Dal: the kanji is well balanced with the dal added to it. The split green gram or moong dal can be used to be cooked along with the rice. This provides the protein to this vegetarian version.
  • Vegetables: I have added carrots and snow peas to this recipe. However, you can add a variety of recipes based on what you have. Try daikon, swedes, beans, snowpeas, cabbage, pumpkin or corn to make the vegetable content. If you are short of time, use a slaw mix or frozen veggie mix to cook with this nombu kanji. Along with this, you need some fresh ginger root, shallots and garlic pods to give flavour to this recipe.
  • Coconut: the south Indian states rely a lot on coconut and coconut milk for flavour. I have come across nombu kanji made with ground coconut paste and the ones cooked in coconut milk. To me, these feel a bit more like curry. So, I prefer adding fresh grated coconut after cooking the kanji.
  • Spices: most Malabar-style recipes have whole spices rather than spice powders used predominantly. In the same feel, I have used cinnamon, cloves, green cardamom and black pepper to flavour this along with salt. Usually, chillies are not added to this kanji, but you can add green chillies along with the vegetables or finish off the recipe with crushed red chilli flakes.
  • Herbs: mint and fresh coriander leaves give the classic nombu kanji flavour. it slightly reminds you of Malabar biryani without being as strong as the biryani though! 

Let’s make ramazan kanji

Nombu kanji is a fairly easy recipe to make. I prefer cooking the rice grits and dal separately and then mixing them with the flavours and vegetables so the vegetables have a bite to them. However, if you have picky eaters at home, saute the veggies with the spices and then cook the rice and dal together with it to form a smooth mashed version. 

Wash and chop the vegetables: The finely chopped ginger garlic and shallots provide an abundance of Malabar flavours to this recipe. Along with this choose vegetables that are light and delightful. The size of the chopping is up to you I like to bite into the vegetables so leave them a bit bigger. you can grate them or finely chop/mince them.

Cooking the rice and dal mix: Wash and pressure cook the dal with the rice grits along with water to a ratio of 1: 4 if using an Indian pressure cooker, it is just 2 whistles, if an instant pot 10 minutes on low-pressure. Once pressure is released, remove and mix well.

Adding the vegetables: Into a saucepan, add a touch of oil followed by the finely chopped garlic, ginger and shallots. Saute till the onions are slightly golden, add the cinnamon, cloves and green cardamom.  Add the rest of the chopped vegetables. Add the cooked rice mix to this and stir well. Add salt, adjust the water content and mix well.

Finishing off with herbs: when the porridge boils and reaches a pouring consistency, turn off the heat stir in the chopped herbs and grated coconut and mix well. The kanji is now ready to be served. 

vegan porridge for iftar

How to serve this kanji?

The nombu kanji is usually just served as it is. It is aromatic enough without overpowering the senses. You can add roasted papad roasted veggies or scrambled beans on the side for a fuller meal.

How long does the kanji stay good? 

If you are planning to make this kanji ahead of time along with your meal prep it is probably a great idea. The cooked kanji stays good for 2 to 3 days in the refrigerator. I have no idea about this recipe as I prefer it made fresh. If you are free and it is successful please let us know. 

Nombu Kanji

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Course Breakfast, Main Course, Soups and salad, Traditional
Cuisine gluten free, instant pot, Kerala, Malabar, Pressure cooker
Servings 4 people


  • Pressure cooker or instant pot
  • saucepan
  • measuring cups and spoons


Rice and dal

  • 1/2 cup rice rava rice grits
  • 1/4 cup Moong dal
  • drinking water


  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 inch fresh ginger root
  • 2 small shallots
  • 1/2 large carrots
  • 10 snow peas or any other vegetables.


  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 green cardamom powder
  • 4-5 Black pepper
  • salt

Herbs and other ingredients

  • 2 tbsp grated coconut
  • 1 tbsp coriander leaves chopped
  • 1 tbsp mint leaves chopped


  • Wash and pressure cook the rice and beans for wo whistles with 4 times water.
  • Once the pressure releases, gently mix and mash the mix.
  • Into a saucepan add a touch of oil and saute the shallots, garlic and ginger.
  • As they brown, add the spices and the rest of the veggies.
  • Mix well and add the cooked rice dal mix.
  • Adjust the water content and let them boil together till the right consistency is reached. Now add the mint, coriander and grated coconut.
  • Mix well and the kanji is ready to be served.
Keyword easy soup recipes, Kerala recipes, malabar cuisine
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Stay connected

This nombu kanji is a comforting soup-style dinner any day, perfect for iftar. Share this recipe with your friends and family who are fasting as it is so easy to make and tastes marvellous. If you make it yourself share your feedback in our comment section.

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ramzan nombu kanji

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