Paryushan Parva is a time for Jains to focus on their spiritual practices by fasting, meditating, and reflecting. These Paryushan-special dishes will respect the principles of this ancient and peaceful religion while pleasing your palate, whether you're celebrating the festival or simply learning about Jain cuisine.
In all facets of life, including diet, Jainism, an ancient Indian religion, places a strong emphasis on non-violence, compassion, and mindfulness. One of the most important festivals for the Indian Jain community is Paryushan. In 2023, Paryushan will be celebrated from September 12 to September 19. During this festive period of Paryushan, Jains observe fasting and deep spiritual contemplation. The meals are consumed only once in a day, between the periods of sunrise and sunset.
As a result, the food prepared during this time adheres to strict Jain dietary principles, forgoing root vegetables like onion, garlic, potatoes, green vegetables and specific spices. If you are celebrating Paryushan Parva in 2023, or are simply curious about Jain cuisine, then these traditional Jain recipes are all you need to know about.
Phalodi: A Sweet Jain Delicacy
During Paryushan Parva, phalodi, a delicious sweet dish, is a must-have. This dish is quite like the Panjiri made during Hindu festivals like Ganesh Chaturthi and Janmashtami. The ingredients are ghee, wheat flour, gondh (edible gum), dry fruits, and sugar. In addition to being scrumptious, phalodi offers Jains who are fasting the nutrients and energy they need to get through the day.
Geela Kakra: Spicy Treat
Geela Kakra is a savory Jain snack made from kakra (cucumber and its thinner variety known as kakdi), ghee, hing (asafoetida), and a mixture of aromatic spices. It's a delicious treat that complies with Jain dietary restrictions and gives the fasting menu a flavor boost. Apart from having it as it is, you can also pair Geela Kakra with rotis.
Gur Ka Sheera: Melt-in-Mouth Halwa
Paryushan Parva would not be complete without Gur ka Sheera. Jaggery, rava (semolina), ghee, water, and sugar are used to make this decadent treat. The dish is a representation of sweetness and purity, and the use of jaggery instead of white sugar is in accordance with Jain principles. Serve it at the end of meals or pair it with puris for a quick and sattvik meal.
Moong Dal Ki Sabzi
Jain cuisine is known for its love of lentils like moong dal because these provide protein and nutrients while also meeting Jain dietary restrictions. During this festival, a basic but filling Moong Ki Sabzi is a must-have dish. It entails simmering moong dal with a few basic spices, no onions or garlic, and consuming it with roti or rice.
Gehun Ka Doodhiya Keech
This Jain keech or kheech (porridge) is made with milk and whole wheat grains which have been soaked overnight. Despite being a very simple porridge, it is a filling and nourishing dish that offers sustenance throughout the fasting period. Keech is made by simmering cracked whole wheat grains in milk, sugar and cardamoms until cooked. The grains are then mashed and topped with chopped dry fruits, nuts and seeds.
Gatta Pulao is a flavorful rice dish with besan (gram flour) dumplings as the star ingredient. Very popular in Rajasthan, this pulao is both protein-packed and delicious. Once the besan dumplings are steamed, they are combined and cooked again with spices and soaked rice. It's a delightful way to eat a flavorful meal while following Jain dietary restrictions.
Papad Methi Nu Shaak
A staple in Gujarati Jain households, Papad Methi Nu Shaak is made with fresh fenugreek leaves or methi. Fenugreek leaves and crushed papad (poppadom) are combined to make the distinctive and flavorful curry. The gravy is often thickened with a bit of besan and yoghurt, making it rich and delicious. This dish is a must-try during Paryushan Parva and a fantastic source of nutrients.
Panchkuta Shaak is a traditional Jain dish from Gujarat’s Kathiawad region. This simple dish is a medley of vegetables that combines five essentials–raw bananas, ghee, coconut, yogurt, and spices. Often, locally grown beans and eggplant are also added to the dish to make it more nutritious. This one pairs well with rotis as well as rice.
Jains focus on both the ingredients and the preparation technique when performing Paryushan Parva. Every precaution is taken to ensure that no living thing—not even accidentally—comes into contact with food while it is being cooked. Strict hygiene procedures are followed, and utensils and cooking surfaces are meticulously cleaned.
It's crucial to remember that Jain recipes for Paryushan Parva can vary depending on region and preferences. To suit their preferences while maintaining the fundamentals of Jainism, some Jain may decide to prepare different versions of these dishes.
The fundamental Jain principles of non-violence and purity are upheld by these traditional Jain recipes, which also provide nourishment and flavor.