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Must Try Delicious Jain Dishes on Mahavir Jayanti

Discover the culinary delights of Jainism! Explore the unique flavors and traditions of Jain food during Mahavir Jayanti. Learn about Satvik principles, popular dishes, and how Jain cuisine honors non-violence.

Jain Thali

Mahavir Jayanti is celebrated with great reverence and enthusiasm by the Jain community worldwide each year. On this auspicious date, the 24th and final Tirthankara of Jainism, Lord Mahavir, whose teachings of non-violence (ahimsa), truth, and compassion are praised, celebrates his birth anniversary. The rich and varied realm of Jain cuisine is one feature that stands out as Jains gather to celebrate this important day.

One of the world's oldest religions, Jainism, strongly emphasizes non-violence and respect for all living things. This philosophy defines their dietary choices as well, leading to a distinctive and delicious culinary heritage that is completely vegetarian and devoid of root vegetables.

Root vegetables like onions, garlic, potatoes, and carrots are not allowed in the strict vegetarian diet that Jains adhere to. This dietary restriction stems from the idea that pulling these veggies up can damage microscopic soil life.

Flavors of Jain Delicacies 

Jain cuisine places a strong emphasis on "satvik" food, following the principles of Ayurveda and the ancient Indian philosophy of sattva, rajas, and tamas. Satvik Food - The term "Satvik" comes from the Sanskrit word "Sattva," which translates to purity, harmony, and goodness. In the context of Jainism, Satvik food refers to dishes that promote physical health, mental clarity, and spiritual growth. One of the defining features of Satvik food in Jain cuisine is the absence of onions and garlic. The consumption of Satvik food is believed to have a calming and clarifying effect on the mind. By avoiding heavy, spicy, or overly stimulating foods, Jains seek to maintain a sense of inner peace and tranquility.

Some dishes from the Jain cuisine are as follows :

  • Sabudana Khichdi - Made from peanuts, and mashed raw bananas, sabudana khichdi is a favorite during fasting periods. It is seasoned with cumin seeds, green chilies, and garnished with fresh coriander, imparting a burst of flavors with every bite.

  • Jain Satvik Thali - Jain Satvik Thali is a traditional Indian meal that adheres to the dietary principles of Jainism, emphasizing purity, simplicity, and non-violence. The thali usually includes items such as dal (lentils), rice, roti (flatbread), vegetables, salads, pickles, and desserts, all prepared in accordance with Jain dietary guidelines. 

  • Paneer Bhurji - Jain paneer bhurji is a flavorful dish made with crumbled paneer (Indian cottage cheese), tomatoes, bell peppers, and a blend of aromatic spices. Devoid of onion and garlic, it embodies the principles of Jain cuisine, offering a protein-rich and satisfying option for vegetarians. 

  • Jain Corn Pakodas - Jain Corn Pakodas are a celebration of simplicity and flavor. Made with fresh corn kernels, besan (gram flour), and a tantalizing mix of spices, these pakodas are a testament to the culinary creativity that thrives within Jain cooking.

  • Jain Veg Puffs - Jain Vegetable Puffs are a delightful combination of buttery, flaky pastry and a flavorful, vegetable-packed filling. These puffs make for a perfect snack for gatherings, parties, or simply as a treat to enjoy with a cup of tea.

  • Jain samosas - They are savory pastries filled with a delectable mixture of mashed raw bananas, peas, and aromatic spices, devoid of onion and garlic. Fried to golden perfection, they boast a crispy exterior and a flavorful interior, making them a delightful Jain-friendly treat, perfect for any occasion.

  • Jain Ragda Patties - It is a Jain-friendly adaptation of the popular Indian street food, Ragda Patties. This dish features raw banana patties served with a savory white peas curry, flavored with spices and garnished with chutneys, sev, and fresh coriander. Prepared without onion, garlic, or other root vegetables, it offers a delicious and satisfying culinary experience for those following Jain dietary principles.

  • Jain Kela Vada - It  is a delectable snack cherished by the Jain community, especially during festive occasions. Made from ripe bananas mashed with flour, spices, and nuts, these delectable vadas are deep-fried to golden perfection, resulting in a crispy exterior and a soft, flavorful interior. 

Key characteristics of foods in Jain cuisines :-

  1. Simple and Natural Ingredients: Satvik food is prepared using simple and natural ingredients that are minimally processed. Fresh fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, dairy products, nuts, and seeds form the foundation of satvik dishes, ensuring that they are nutrient-rich and wholesome.

  2. Absence of Onions and Garlic: One of the defining features of satvik food in Jain cuisine is the exclusion of onions and garlic. According to Jain dietary principles, onions and garlic are considered "tamasic" or stimulating to the senses, and their consumption is believed to disturb the mind and body's equilibrium.

Mahavir Jayanti provides an opportunity not only to celebrate the life and teachings of Lord Mahavir but also to savor the rich tapestry of Jain cuisine. With its emphasis on simplicity, purity, and compassion, Jain food not only nourishes the body but also feeds the soul. As devotees come together to commemorate this auspicious occasion, they find joy and fulfillment in the delicious world of Jain cuisine, honoring the principles of non-violence and harmony with all living beings.