Asafoetida

Asafoetida

The dried latex that is exuded from the tap roots of several species of a perennial herb called Ferula is the spice Asafoetida. The plant belongs to the genus Silphium. This herb grows in the deserts of Iran and mountains of Afghanistan and is cultivated in nearby India. They grow upto 1.5 m tall. The spice does have an unpleasant smell but when used for cooking dishes it gives a smooth flavour similar to that of leeks.

It is also known by a number of names like asant, food of the gods, jowani, stinking gum, hing, kayam, devil’s dung, ingu, ting etc.

Translations

Language Name Pronunciation
English Asafoetida æsəˈfɛtᵻdə
Hindi हींग Hing
Tamil பெருங்காயம் Peruṅkāyam
Arabic أسافويتيدا ‘asafuytida
Spanish Asafétida

Availability:

Available year-round

Selecting the Spice:

Asafoetida Asafoetida Powder

It is available in airtight cans in all leading stores.

How to Store:

After opening a container of asafoetida it is advised to close it as soon as possible. Ensure to keep it hermetically sealed in a container or even double wrapped.

The degree of pungency is directly proportional to the freshness of the asafoetida. The essence fades as the volatile oil escapes.

How to Use:

Asafoetida is used as a flavour enhancer or as a digestive aid, or as a condiment in food and also in pickling. It is used mainly in Indian cooking along with turmeric in lentil curries and vegetable dishes.

In its purest form the odour is very strong but become much milder and less pungent upon heating in ghee or oil during the cooking process.

It is used as a digestive that helps reduce flatulence.

How to Use Asafoetida

This spice is not generally used in every dish but adding a pinch or two to the dish helps in bringing a flavour and making the dish tasty. It can be either added in the beginning once the oil or ghee heats up or after the other spices have been added.

It is always better to use it in smaller amounts. It brings out the flavour when it is first fried for 5-10 seconds in hot oil or ghee until the pungency has mellowed down. After which the remaining ingredients can be added.

This spice brings in an oniongarlic flavour to the dish, thereby allowing the user to avoid these ingredients if they want to.

Medical Value

It is known to have a noticeable place in traditional medicine. It has antiviral, antibacterial, anti –inflammatory, anti-oxidant properties and much more. Some of the main benefits are mentioned below.

  • It helps treat stomach disorders
  • It helps cure respiratory disorders
  • It relives menstrual issues and pain.
  • It helps soothe headaches
  • It helps in treating toothaches, gum issues like bleeding.
  • It eases ear aches
  • It helps in treating colic pain
  • It is known to have anti carcinoma properties
  • It helps in treatment of impotency
  • It helps in healing insect bites and stings
 

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