Cooking this lent season: Using Whole grain Farro

I am born in a Syrian Christian family in Kerala in the southern coast of India.. I have great memories of my family observing the lent and preparing special food during the season. My grandmother used to not even have any milk products, eggs, or seafood ,but strictly vegetarian. But here in the US during the lent season,  I am observing lent and preparing  many traditional vegetarian meals. 

I can think of so many different varieties of vegetarian and legume preparations during this season.  Here are a few recipes for everyone to try for "meatless Mondays" or "meatless Fridays" in the Western world.

The recipe we are sharing today is the "Farro Tahiri," a fun and traditional one pot meal, which includes wholesome ingredients and flavorful spices and herbs.  In this recipe, we have featured an ancient grain,  Farro,  which is high in protein and filled with minerals and fiber. This product is available locally at the  The Meat House, a local grocer in Summit, NJ. We have many more recipes for this lent season in our recipe collection including a Classic Dal recipe. Hope you enjoy making them.


Recipe courtesy of Indian Cuisine Diabetes Cookbook and the American Diabetes Association.

farro tahiri

Culinary History:

Farro, is a group of ancient whole grains comprised of 3 ancient wheat types. This ancient grain is sourced from Italy and is known for its complex nutty taste and it's similar appearance to brown rice grains. Because farro is so easily digested and so low in gluten, farro can often be eaten by people who are gluten intolerant. 

SERVES: 6 - SERVING: 3 oz 


2 cup farro, rinsed and drained
2 cups vegetable broth, low-sodium
2 cups warm water
1 tsp salt

(Veggies for the Tahiri)
2 pounds sweet potato (about 2), peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes
½  tsp salt
1 tsp sunflower oil
1 head of cauliflower, 2 cups chopped cauliflower florets into pea size
2 medium carrots,  ½ cup chopped diced ¼ inch cubes
12 french beans, ⅓ cup chopped into ½ inch sized
½ cup green peas, fresh or frozen

(Whole Spice masala)
3 cloves
3 whole green cardamoms
1 small cinnamon stick

(For the Masala)
1 tbsp sunflower oil
2 red onions, sliced thin, about 1 cup
1 tsp salt
2 medium sized tomatoes, diced, about ½ cup
1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
1 green chili, seeds removed slit into half
 2 tsp Keralan Curry Spice Blend

(For Garnish)
1 tbsp finely chopped mint leaves
3 tbsp finely chopped cilantro leaves
½ tbsp lemon juice


To roast the sweet potato:

  1. Preheat an oven to 375 degrees and position an oven rack in the center. 
  2. In a large bowl, combine 1 tsp oil, and salt with sweet potato, toss until well combined. 
  3. Transfer the mixture onto a rimmed baking sheet, spreading evenly. 
  4. Place the baking sheet into the oven to roast, stirring every 15 minutes, until fork tender, about 30 minutes. 

To Make the Tahiri:

  1. Preheat heat a dutch oven, medium high heat,  add 1tbsp of oil 
  2. Add the whole masala and sauté till the spices are fragrant for about 2 minutes
  3. Now add the sliced onions, and add  the 1 tbsp of salt and sauté until the onion become golden
  4. Reduce the heat to medium
  5. Now add the ginger garlic paste and sauté for about 2 minutes
  6. Now add the chopped tomatoes and and sauté for another 3 minutes
  7. Now add the spices and the chili and sauté for another minute
  8. Now add the rinsed farro and the salt and sauté for another minute.
  9. Now add the water + vegetable stalk cook on medium high and once the liquid boil close the lid and seal it with an aluminum foil and cook on low heat for another 30 minutes
  10. Take the lid off and add the roasted sweet potato, cilantro and mint and the lemon juice and fluff the faro

Cooks notes:

If the farro is not cooked, close the lid and turn off the heat and keep it for another two minute.


Happy Valentine's Day to one and all

"The way to a man's heart is through his stomach?"
We at Passion for spices truly believe in this.

Win the heart of your loved one by making delicious meals that satisfies the body and soul.

We had some of our clients buy our curated cooking classes as surprise gifts to their loved ones for birthdays and special celebrations and many have told us that it was the best gift they have ever received. Cooking together with your loved ones is a special treat and the memories are unforgettable. 

Cooking with a loved one or the family is such a romantic and fun experience and we encourage everyone to learn the art of cooking. We at Passion for Spices™ have a sustainable test kitchen where we experiment with various ingredients and cooking techniques from various heritages and share it through our cooking classes. Please take advantage of it and it is not just a class, but as everyone says, it is a "Culinary experience" learning about food ingredients, integrating spices and flavors, and presenting it in the most beautiful way. 

Here are some examples of our classes where families cook together and having the best time of their life.

nj cooking camps
couples cooking class

Check our recipe collection and enjoy the complimentary recipes for the Valentines menu.

A Special Valentine's Menu

Compliments of Passion for Spices™
A menu that will satisfy your heart and soul.

 Peppery Kerala Shrimp w/ Curried Mayo

Peppery Kerala Shrimp w/ Curried Mayo

 One Pot Dum Biryani in a French Cocotte

One Pot Dum Biryani in a French Cocotte

 Garam Masala Spiced Dark  Chocolate

Garam Masala Spiced Dark  Chocolate

Please check out our upcoming classes. We have exciting classes planned for Spring.

Celebrate the season with exotic spices

A special holiday recipe, compliments of Passion for Spices for you and yours. Hope the New Year is filled with happiness and good health. Passion for Spices is happy to help you create special memories of cooking together with family and friends. The Passion for Spices team will be there to teach you the basics of cooking with spices and exciting food from around the world. Please check our Culinary Learning Center where you can learn about ingredients and techniques that we will be updating from time to time. Visit our site to learn about our upcoming exciting culinary classes and events. We have some exciting new classes in the coming year. 

Please enjoy this special recipe with your friends and family, with exotic spices without feeling guilty.  These recipes are full of flavor that everyone can devour. This can be a great presentation on your holiday table for Christmas Eve or New Years, and we can guarantee you this will be a friends and family favorite.

Photo Credits to James Peterson and Passion for Spices

Classic lobster tandoori



1. To prepare the marinade, place all of the ingredients in the tandoori masala in a blender and process until smooth. 

2. For the lobster, bring a large pot of salted water to a rapid boil. Place the live lobsters into the boiling water, cover tightly, and let cook for 4 or 5 minutes, until the lobster tails are curled and the shells have turned bright red. With tongs, remove from the water and place in an ice-water bath to stop the cooking. 

3. Break off the claws. Separate the head from the tail. Remove the meat from the tail in one piece by cutting along the soft underside shell to expose the flesh. With the back of a knife, lightly crack the shells of the large claws and carefully remove the meat in one piece. Place the lobster tail and claw meat in the marinade, cover, and refrigerate for 4 hours.

4. To serve, preheat the oven to 500ºF. Place the marinated lobster meat on a baking sheet, brush with a oil and cook for about 4 minutes, until the meat is opaque white and the marinade is slightly browned.



1 small piece onion
2 cloves garlic
1/16 tsp ground ginger
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1 Tbsp ground coriander
1 Tbsp smoked paprika
2 Tbsp lime juice
1/2 cup plain low-fat Greek yogurt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp ground tumeric
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp minced cilantro leaves
1 tbsp minced mint leaves
1 tsp honey

2 live lobsters
1 tsp sunflower oil or ghee


Recipe courtesy of Indian Cuisine Diabetes Cookbook and the American Diabetes Association.


1 tbsp Keralan Curry can be used in place of the coriander, paprika, black pepper, and turmeric.

Passion for Spices team wishes you a Happy Holidays and a Healthy, Happy, Prosperous 2018.