5 Paryushan Parva-Friendly Recipes For Jains

Jain cuisine is a strictly lacto-vegetarian dietary practice, abstaining from root and underground vegetables like onions, garlic, and potatoes. This Jain avoidance stems from the desire to prevent harm to small organisms and to avoid uprooting entire plants. Both Jain ascetics and followers adhere to this cuisine. The rationale against consuming meat, fish, and eggs is rooted in the principle of non-violence (ahimsa), meaning avoiding harm.

Any action that contributes, directly or indirectly, to harm or injury is regarded as an act of violence (himsa), resulting in negative karmic consequences. Ahimsa aims to mitigate the accumulation of such detrimental karma. By avoiding root and underground vegetables, Jains seek to lead a lifestyle that causes the least harm to living beings and avoids the accumulation of negative karma that may result from causing harm.

Paryushan Parva is an eight-day Jain festival of reflection and seeking forgiveness for one’s sins. The monarch of Jain festivals, Paryushan Mahaparva, symbolizes the opportunity to seek forgiveness for one’s mistakes. Paryushan Parva is celebrated for eight days by both sects of the religion, with each day signifying something different. For the duration of these 8 days, Jains are not allowed to eat fruits and vegetables that grow under the ground, like potatoes, onions, garlic, etc.

Despite these dietary restrictions, the culinary world offers a multitude of possibilities to create flavorful and delectable dishes that align with Jain principles. In this article, we present five Paryushan- friendly recipes that not only adhere to Jain dietary guidelines but also celebrate the richness of flavors and textures.

1. Gujarati Kadhi

Gujarati kadhi is a quintessential dish in Gujarati cuisine, revered for its delicate balance of flavors and soothing qualities. Many Gujarati dishes like this one can be put together without using any onions, garlic, or root vegetables. This yoghurt-based soup or curry is crafted by blending yoghurt with gram flour (besan) to create a tangy and creamy base. Infused with a medley of spices, including fenugreek seeds, cumin, and curry leaves, it exudes a subtle aromatic essence.

The addition of sugar or jaggery imparts a touch of sweetness that beautifully contrasts the spices. A tempering of mustard seeds, cumin seeds, and asafoetida in ghee or oil adds depth and richness to the dish. Often served with rice or khichdi, Gujarati kadhi provides a refreshing and comforting culinary experience, embodying the harmonious blend of sweet, sour, and savory flavors unique to the region's cuisine.

Dal Baati Churma

Dal Baati Churma is a traditional Rajasthani dish that epitomizes the rich and robust flavors of the region. Comprising three distinct elements, it offers a fulfilling and diverse culinary experience. Baati, a hard wheat-based bread, is traditionally baked in the intense heat of charcoal or an open flame until it turns golden and crisp on the outside while remaining tender within.

Paired with this is dal, a flavorful lentil stew often infused with aromatic spices like cumin, mustard seeds, and asafoetida, creating a hearty and nutritious accompaniment. To complete the trio, there's churma—a sweet and crumbly mixture made from crushed baati, ghee, and jaggery, often augmented with dried fruits and nuts. This dish is a wholesome combination of flavors and rich ingredients and is worth trying out and making a part of the eight-day menu.

Sabudana Vada

Sabudana vada holds a special place on fasting and festive menus, particularly during religious observances. This dish hails from Maharashtra but has gained popularity across the country. Made primarily from soaked and drained tapioca pearls (sabudana), these pearls are generally mixed with mashed boiled potatoes, but as you’re making it without rooted vegetables, you can use boiled unripe bananas and mix them with various spices like cumin seeds, green chilies, and chopped cilantro.

The mixture is formed into patties and deep-fried until golden and crispy, resulting in a delightful contrast of textures—crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. Sabudana vada is not only enjoyed for its taste but also for its ability to sustain energy during fasting periods due to its carbohydrate-rich composition. Served with cooling yoghurt or spicy chutneys, sabudana vada showcases the creativity and adaptability of Indian cuisine in catering to dietary and cultural preferences.

Moong Dal Chilla

Moong Dal Chilla, a versatile and nutritious dish prominent in North Indian cuisine, showcases moong dal in a delightful form. It involves grinding soaked mung lentils into a smooth batter, which is then spread onto a hot griddle to cook into thin, savory pancakes. These chillas are often seasoned with chopped vegetables as well as a medley of spices such as cumin and turmeric, enhancing both taste and nutritional value. Cooked until golden and slightly crispy on the edges, moong dal chilla is a protein- packed, gluten-free, and low-fat option suitable for breakfast, brunch, or even a light meal. It is even suitable for Jain fasts because of the simplicity of its ingredients.

Dal Pakwan

It is a combination of flavours and textures. It consists of two main components: dal, a spiced lentil stew, and pakwan, a crisp and deep-fried flatbread. The dal is usually made from chana dal (split Bengal gram) cooked with aromatic spices like cumin, coriander, and turmeric, resulting in a flavorful and comforting lentil preparation.

The pakwan, on the other hand, is a crispy flatbread made from a wheat flour dough thats rolled out thinly and deep-fried until it puffs up and turns golden brown. Its ingredients make it perfect for a snack or breakfast during Paryushan. The dish is served with chopped tomatoes, cilantro, and a drizzle of tangy tamarind chutney.