Jain sabji is basically a vegetable dish prepared in compliance to the laws, with regard to food consumption, that are practiced by followers of the religion of Jainism. There is certainly no non-vegetarian food allowed as they are Purists. In fact, there are even certain vegetables that they refrain from including as part of their diet. These include any vegetable that grows beneath the ground such as potatoes, onions, carrots, ginger and garlic among others. Also cauliflower and brinjals are other vegetables that are excluded by the Jain community in food preparation.
However even with these restrictions, it is possible to prepare Jain sabjis without compromising on the taste while appeasing the Jain palette.
An onion and ginger garlic based gravy can be substituted by using a tomato gravy in which 2 teaspoons sesame seeds and 3 teaspoons of poppy seeds are ground to a fine powder and added. Sesame is an excellent source of Vitamin E, Iron, Calcium, Magnesium, Omega-6 fatty acids, phenolic antioxidants and fibre. It also has potent anti-cancer properties and numerous health benefits.Poppy seeds are low in sodium and high in Calcium, Potassium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Zinc, Manganese and Copper. A good source of dietary fibre, poppy seeds have a cholesterol lowering effect and contain health-promoting antioxidants.
• Bengal Gram flour or besan can be used to form the base of Jain sabjis using vegetables like okra, capsicum, pumpkin and others. This would add a good amount of protein to the dish as well.
• ‘Papad nu shak’ is a Jain sabji made using papads during the period green vegetables are not consumed. This is a quick and simple dish prepared without using any vegetable per say, only using healthful and flavour-rich spices and condiments.