Asafoetida, also called hing or heeng, is an astonishingly pungent spice, consisting of the dried gum resin from members of the giant fennel family, Ferula, which grows in Central Asia.
Asafoetida is an important spice in Indian cuisine, introduced there through the Moghul empire. Its name derives from the Persian word aza, which means mastic resin, and Latin foetida, which means stinking, a clue as to its powerful, distinctive odour.
This ground asafoetida is particularly strong-smelling, with noticeable garlic notes. When heated it gives an onion-like aroma, and is a popular spice among the Brahmin and Jain sects, who are forbidden the use of garlic and onion in their cooking.
Traditionally in Indian cooking, asafoetida is fried first in order to mute its powerful taste, rather than being added ‘neat’. Due to its strength, use it sparingly in dishes such as chat masala, pickles and dals. If you're looking for a recipe to use this, try Dahi ni Kadhi.
Ingredients: Asafoetida, gum arabic, ground rice, turmeric
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