What is Jain Food?

by msanglikar

Jain Food is popular amongst many Indians. Here is a brief introduction to Jain food and its verities.

Jainism is an ancient religion from India. The followers of Jainism are known as Jains. Jains do not kill or cause to kill animals. Obviously Jains are strictly vegetarians. Further many of them do not eat some specific vegetables, especially root vegetables like potatoes, Onions, Carrots etc. So in Jain recipes, you would not find such vegetables, especially in Gujarati Jain Food.

Although Jains are vegetarians, they are not vegans, but lactovegetarians. So you would see use of milk products in Jain food.

Jain community is not a single community. Jains belong to various regional and linguistic groups, as well as different ethnic group. So there is a big difference between Jain food used by different Jains.

Generally, we can classify Jain food in following categories:

South Indian Jain Food: Once South India was a stronghold of Jains. Today most of Jains in Southern India are concentrated in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu states, followed by Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Pondicherry. They are ether indigenous or migrated Jains from other parts of the country. The traditional food of indigenous Jains of this region can be classified as South Indian Jain Food. Generally, it is spicy and use of chilli powder is popular. Rice and coconut oil are main components of South Indian Jain Food.

Deccan Jain Food: It is Jain food by Jains of North Karnataka, Telangana and Maharashtra. Jawar roti (Bread made from Jawar floor) is popular in Jains of this area. Chili powder usage is considerable.

Gujarati Jain Food: Jain food by Jains of Gujarat, a state of Western India, where Jainism is a popular religion. This food is without any root vegetables like onions, garlic etc. Use of chilli powder is low and most of the recipes are non-spicy. This food is popular in hotels also.

Rajasthani Jain Food: Jain Food by Rajasthani Jains, another state of Western India, where Jainism is a popular religion. Jain Food of this area is spicy and tasty. Rajasthani people like to eat in one plate.

North Indian Jain Food: Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh are two big states of Northern India. Jains of these states have slightly different recipes.

Punjabi Jain Food: The Jains of the Indian states of Punjab, Haryana, Delhi and Western Uttar Pradesh mainly eat wheat bread, rice and a lot of vegetables. Use of milk and milk product is at high.

Tribal Jain Food: Jain food by Tribal Jains. This has a big variety as the tribal Jains are spread all over India and have their regional culture.

Vegan Jain Food: Many Jains from west are becoming vegans and their food is without any dairy products.

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Updated: 11/17/2012, msanglikar
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