Asafoetida is the dried latex (gum oleoresin) exuded from the living underground rhizome or tap root of several species of Ferula (three of which grow in India), which is a perennial herb (1 to 1.5 mtr. High). Asafoetida has a pungent smell, thus its trivial name stinking gum, but in cooked dishes it delivers a smooth flavour reminiscent of leeks. It is also known as food of the gods, devil's dung, jowani badian, hing, hengu, inguva, kayam, and ting
Asafetida odour and flavour become much milder and much less pungent upon heating in oil or ghee. Sometimes, it is fried along with sautéed onion and garlic. It is sometimes used to harmonize sweet, sour, salty, and spicy components in food. The spice is added to the food at the time of tempering. Sometimes dried and ground asafoetida (in very small quantities) can be mixed with salt and eaten with raw salad
Many commercial preparations of asafoetida use the resin ground up and mixed with a larger volume of other neutral ingredients, such as gum arabic, wheat flour, rice flour and turmeric. The mixture is sold in sealed plastic containers with a hole that allows direct dusting of the powder.
Asafoetida is extensively used for flavouring curries, sauces, and pickles. It is also used in medicines because of its antibiotic properties. Along the coasts of south India it is used to kill unwanted trees by boring a hole in the tree and filling the hole with asafoetida.
It has a prominent place in traditional medicine; thanks to its carminative, anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, sedative and diuretic properties. Considering its therapeutic and curative powers, asafoetida is also referred to as the Food of the Gods and a few more, such names are an attribute to its never-ending health and beauty benefits it offers upon consumption.
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Used in soups, dals, bean and vegetable dishes, and seafood dishes.
Used in curries, lentil soups, roasted vegetables.