Spice Spotlight: Asafoetida

Ever wondered about the origins of Hing? Asafoetida, commonly known as “Hing” or “Perangayam” is obtained from the root of the Ferula plant, that grows in the arid regions of countries like Iran, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Afghanistan, amongst others.

Although not conventionally obtained, it is one of those earthy ingredients you will need in your kitchen, once you have discovered its true piquant qualities. Asafoetida is extracted from the roots of a perennial herb called ferula and has a very strong pungent odour. In fact, the odour is so strong that asafoetida is usually stored in a separate airtight container to prevent the smell from influencing other spices. Cooking it in ghee or oil delivers a smooth flavour similar to fried onions.

Hing plays an extremely important role in South Indian cuisine by enhancing the flavours of the dish. In North Indian cooking, it is often used along with turmeric in various recipes like dal, chickpea curries, and different types of vegetable dishes based on potatoes and cauliflower. Asafoetida is usually quickly heated in hot oil and sprinkled on food. It is used in various vegetarian and non-vegetarian recipes to enhance the flavor of the dishes. For the Jain community in India, asafoetida is of utmost importance since they don’t consume onion and garlic.


Nutrition Value of Asafoetida

Hing is famous for its digestive properties. When it is used as tempering in dal or curries, it not only enhances the taste but also provides immense health benefits. The aroma of the sizzling tadkaa sets the mood for the food and makes us hungry. Known by many names such as chhounk, tadka, baghaar, phodni, thaalippu, etc. throughout India, Tadkaa is an important part of many dishes. For tadkaa, ghee or oil is heated in a pan, a bunch of spices such as rai (mustard seeds); hing (asafoetida), jeera (cumin seeds), etc. are added to this hot oil/ghee, which unlocks the unique aroma of the spices. This process helps our body process the fat-soluble vitamins in the spices.

  • Asafoetida has been found to be a good source of antioxidants. These compounds help protect your cells against potential damage caused by unstable molecules called free radicals.
  • Specifically, asafoetida has been shown to contain high amounts of phenolic compounds, such as tannins and flavonoids, which are known for their potent antioxidant effects.
  • Asafoetida has also been shown to help boost digestion by increasing the activity of digestive enzymes.
  • Hing is loaded with antioxidants and antioxidants are great for the skin. Mix a pinch of hing in your face pack and get that glowing skin.


Ways to Consume Hing:

  • You can drink a glass of lukewarm water with a pinch of asafoetida/hing regularly to cure acidity, bloating, and other digestive issues.
  • You can add a big pinch of asafoetida / hing in the tempering for your vegetables, curries, snacks, and even drinks to boost your metabolism.
  • Stir a little hing and ghee into your favorite onion-and-garlic-free pasta sauce for delicious, FODMAP-friendly marinara sauce.
  • Asafoetida is a natural blood thinner. Drink asafoetida / hing water regularly to keep your blood pressure in control.
  • Add a little hing and turmeric to sautéed ground beef, chicken or turkey when making chilli, Sloppy Joes, or spaghetti with meat sauce.
  • You can also apply asafoetida / hing paste on your face to get that spotless glow.
  • Asafoetida is mostly added at the time of tempering the spices.

Here’s the easiest way – Heat the pan and add butter or ghee (any fat), add a pinch of hing and let it simmer and cook in the butter until the flavour smoothens. You can now add the other spices and ingredients in your recipe.

 

But here is something that you must note:

Hing or Asafoetida is often confused with Monosodium Glutamate, commonly referred to as Ajinomoto – a kind of salt used widely in Chinese cuisine. Both are not the same!


Summary

Asafoetida (Hing) and its manifold benefits make it a super spice. It is widely used around the world to add flavor to the dishes. It also has great health benefits and is widely used in traditional medicines such as Ayurveda. It has excellent digestive properties and is a boon for people suffering from constipation or digestive ailments. It has anti-bacterial properties that help to cure a cold and flu. Our grandmothers have always advised us to include asafoetida / hing and other similar spices in our everyday meals due to their great health benefits.

Hing is not just a spice but also a medicinal herb. We often take these common spices for granted, but they have great health benefits. Asafoetida not only works wonders for the body but can also cure various skin and hair problems. These numerous benefits make asafoetida/hing nothing less than a wonder spice. Include asafoetida/hing in your diet and see your health improving in no time.

Asafoetida Hing Powder


Now that you know a little bit about the super spice Asafoetida, you can continue to explore their complexities and how you can use them to make a dish tastier. So, this season pay special attention to this super spice Hing and don’t you be intimidated by its sulphuric odour. A pinch of Naturevibe Asafoetida can do magic to your food.

If you’ve used Asafoetida (Hing) in your recipe, Share with us on ‘Submit your Recipe’ section. We’d love to hear them.


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