Cooking without onion or garlic is not so much of a challenge as you are making it to be. This Jain Pav Bhaji, is a fine example.
Jainism is one of the oldest religions that originated in India. Ahiṃsā (non-violence), anekāntavāda (non-absolutism), and aparigraha (ascetism) are the three main pillars of Jainism, and the same is reflected in the Jain food habits as well. Not only do Jains refrain from meat, many traditional Jain community members abstain from root vegetables like carrots and radish, as they are supposed to be the food of the micro-organisms living beneath the earth, many also refrain from eating after the sun goes down. As per their belief, this is the time bacteria settles on food, and it would be an act of violence to eat even the minutest living being.
Most Jains are found across the western region of the country, particularly Gujarat. Food Historian KT Achaya in his book ‘The Historical Companion to Indian Food’, writes that by 6th century BC. disciples of Mahavira Jain raised their voice against animal slaughter and eventually most people of the region gave up on meat, even King Kumarapala of the Chalukya dynasty adopted to the Jain-style of eating, and the royal feast was prepared to keep Jain ethics in mind.
So how easy or difficult is Jain cooking. It all depends upon the ingredients present and your creativity. If you are willing, you can give most Indian preparations a Jain spin. That’s right, cooking without onion or garlic is not so much of a challenge as you are making it to be. This Jain Pav Bhaji, is a fine example.
Pav Bhaji, is a Maharashtrian delicacy, which has two components, Pav (a type of a bread) and Bhaji (or mixed vegetables). The Bhaji is made by smashing a couple of vegetables on a flat tawa with butter. Veggies like chopped capsicum, tomatoes, onions, peas, vatana, and cauliflower are mashed together until they combine to form one dark-hued, thick bhaji. Ginger and garlic are common suspects too. The Bhaji is topped over with more onions and served with a lemon wedge.
But in this Jain Pav Bhaji, neither do you find any trace of onion, garlic or carrots and yet you have the treat to remember.
Here is the detailed recipe of Jain Pav Bhaji, make sure you toast the pav in butter before you serve them. And make sure you serve everything hot. Do let us know how you liked the recipe.