Asafoetida or asafoetid is the dried latex (oleo-gum-resin) exuded from the living
rhizome, rootstock or taproot of an umbelliferous plant of varied species.
This dried gum resin and has a unique odor from its sulfur compounds that are present in
it. It resembles the flavor of shallot or garlic and is used many times as a
substitute. Asafetida was popular in Roman times and is now used extensively in all
of the regional cuisines of India. Is also used in Persian cuisine and Middle-Eastern
cuisines. It is used sparingly and produced mainly in India and Iran. Sulphur
compounds in the sap explain its rather unpleasant smell and bitter taste, but when heated
it releases an onion/garlicy flavor. In India it is prized as Indian cuisine incorporates
the 6 tastes in its meals sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent and astringent.
Asafetida is pungent just like garlic. Excellent for vegetarian foods as it imparts
a very satisfying, robust taste to delicate dals (lentils) and vegetables. Indian
asafoetida enjoys an exalted position in the international market, being unique in blend
and made with the finest ingredients.
Storage: Store in a dry, cool place in an airtight jar and out of direct light.
How to use:
Use a pinch in your vegetables and in lentils and beans. Add oil in the pan and
fry the asafetida in oil or dry roast it.
Here are a few suggestions on how to cook with asafoetida:
- Use a very small amount of asafoetida to flavor hot oil to release its flavor and use it
in place of garlic
- Add asafoetida to any dish containing lentils
- This is pure asafoetida so crush asafoetida resin into a fine powder and add only a tiny
amount; about the size of a 1/2 a peppercorn
- You may fry it along with cumin seeds and or mustard seeds. In Indian foods, it is
frequently used to flavor vegetable and dal dishes, sauces, papads and pickles
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Hint: Powerful flavor use sparingly. Asafetida should always be fried. No you should
not add while the food is being cooked. It needs to be fried in little oil for a few
seconds for the resin to dissolve in the fat.
Botanical Name: Ferula asafoetida
Traditional Ayurvedic (herb) use: Asafetida has a heating effect on the system, it is
lightly unctuous in nature and aids in an appetizer; it increases the stomach fire and
cures dry coughs, asthma, heart diseases, flatulence indigestion, worms in the intestine,
bronchitis, lymphatic disorders and tumors of the stomach. It regulates the menstrual
cycle, cures ailments of the liver and spleen, gives strength to the body paralysis
deafness, dizziness, shortness of breath, rheumatism, eye sores and throat diseases. . It
has been used in the past to treat hysteria and was sometimes taken as a sedative.
Asafetida is said to have antispasmodic properties.
Ayurvedic Orientation: Pungent, bitter, Heating, Action on Doshas: Reduces Vata and Kapha,