Asafoetida/Asafetida (हिंग)

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Asafoetida/Asafetida (हिंग)

Asafoetida is a dried, resinous gum obtained from the stems and rhizomes or taproots of three species of the Ferula (giant fennel) plant. Although available in ‘tears’ and ‘lumps’, it is most commonly found in powdered form. When solid asafoetida is crushed, the sulphur compounds in the volatile oil are released, giving it a strong, unpleasant smell, reminiscent of pickled garlic.
Asafoetida has a very strong, pungent smell and the flavour mellows as it is fried in oil. When cooked, it has a truffle-like flavour and a roasted garlic aroma.
Originally found in Afghanistan and Iran, Asafoetida emerged in India during the Moghul Reign and has since been cultivated in Kashmir as well.
A word of warning however: asafoetida should only be used sparingly in any cooked dish where garlic would be appropriate even a tiny amount enhances the flavour of a dish or spice mix.