Health Benefits of Spices--Back to the Future!

We were privileged to be invited back to Ann Arbor to deliver a lecture at the public library downtown, and absolutely wonderful venue. Next year will be 50 years since my husband and I graduated from the University of Michigan, he with a master’s, me with a bachelor’s. The Health Benefits of Punjabi Spices was the topic, so timely now, as research is just catching up with the knowledge of the 5.000-year old Science of Life-Ayurveda.

The delicious and nourishing soup I made yesterday is a symphony of health benefits, from the protein, insositol and fiber in the beans, the protective turmeric, to the capsaisin in the chilies, the beta-carotenes in the squash, the iron and many insulin-resistance fighters in the fenugreek leaves, the antioxidants in the onion and ginger, the omega 3s in the oil, and the amazing benefits of the many spices in my freshly toasted and ground garam masala. How about that!

Do make you and your family’s future a healthier one by cooking the Punjabi way.


Dried Butterbean, Squash and Fenugreek (Methi) Soup

Yield: 4-6 servings

The squash could be fresh, frozen or even leftover. Any dark greens may substitute for the fenugreek, but may not have the same health benefits.

2 cups dried butter or lima beans

1 teaspoon turmeric powder

2 whole, dried red chilies (optional)

1 cup any squash, peeled and diced

2 cubes frozen, chopped methi (fenugreek leaves) or two tablespoons dried

2 tablespoons coconut, canola or olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

1” piece ginger, minced

½ teaspoon garam masala or toasted cumin seed

Salt and pepper to taste


Soak the beans for 8 or overnight, rinse, cover with 6 cups of water, add the turmeric and chilies and bring to a boil in a medium/large pot. Cover and cook over medium/low heat for one hour. Add water if needed. Add the squash and fenugreek and continue to cook, covered, over low heat for another hour, stirring occasionally.

In a small pan, heat the oil and add the chopped onion.

Sauté until soft and golden. Add the ginger and continue to sauté for another few minutes. Pour over the beans.. Stir and then add garam masala or cumin, salt and pepper to taste. Continue simmering and until the beans are soft and the soup is the consistency you enjoy.