Tell-a-FriendAsafetida

Posted in Spices and Herbs  
Asafetida 

Asafetida (Hing) is an essential ingredient in Indian vegetarian cooking. Asafetida is the strong-smelling, even stinking, dried brownish resin extracted from the root of a plant (Ferula assafoetida) that grows wild from the eastern Mediterranean to central Asia. Asafetida gets its name from two languages: assa from the Farsi meaning “resin”, and foetidus, Latin for “stinky” (hence, fetid). Fresh asafetida resin is indeed powerful; it can be unpleasant to the uninitiated but stimulating to its fans.

In central Asia, especially India and Iran, asafetida has remained an important culinary spice and herbal medicine. In India, some people don’t eat onions and garlic for religious reasons, substituting asafetida instead; however, in northern Indian cooking, asafetida is often combined with either garlic or onion. In southern India, asafetida is even more popular and shows up in the Tamil spice mixture sambar podi, which generally seasons vegetables, not meats, because vegetarianism is more prevalent in southern India.

Other Names
Anghuzeh (Farsi); asafétida (Spanish); asafoetida; a-wei (Chinese); aza (Greek); devil’s dung; férule persique or merde du diable (French); haltit or tyib (Arabic); hing (Hindi); mvuje (Swahili); stinkasant or teufelsdreck (German); stinking gum
Purchase and Avoid
For stronger flavour, buy asafetida resin; for a milder spice that’s easier to use, buy powdered asafetida. Yellow asafetida is milder than brown.
Storage
Powdered asafetida loses its aroma after about 1 year, but the resin lasts indefinitely.
Culinary Uses
  • Asafetida resin is powerful and must be used in tiny amounts (a pea-sized bit will flavour a large pot of food). Always fry the resin quickly in hot oil so that it dissolves and disperses throughout the food, and to transform the flavour to make it more appealing.

  • Add a pinch of asafetida to the pan when frying onions and garlic for curry.

  • Fry a pinch of asafetida and add to lamb, mushrooms, chickpeas, lentils, split peas, or other legumes.

Food Affinities
  • beans

  • chickpeas

  • garlic

  • lamb

  • lentils

  • mushroom

  • onion

  • split peas

  • turmeric

Category: Spices and Herbs

Sub Category: Spice

Total Views: 1775

Word Count: 515

Comment on Twitter

More Articles in "Spices and Herbs"

Nutmeg and Mace
Posted 19-04-2011 in Spices and Herbs
Nutmeg and Mace
Nutmeg is the large, light grayish brown, speckled, wood-hard kernel that grows inside the apricot-like fruit of a tropical tree (Myristica fragrans)…
View Details »
Allspice
Posted 03-11-2009 in Spices and Herbs
Allspice
Allspice takes its name from its aroma, which smells like a combination of spices, especially cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and nutmeg, hence the name…
View Details »
Speserye
Posted 03-10-2009 in Spices and Herbs
Speserye
Eksotiese speserye van regoor die wêreld is deesdae tot ons beskikking – tog beteken die beskikbaarheid daarvan maar min as jy nie weet hoe om dit te…
View Details »
Szechuan Peppercorns
Posted 19-04-2011 in Spices and Herbs
Szechuan Peppercorns
Szechuan peppercorns are the dried husks that surround the seeds of the Chinese prickly ash tree (Zanthoxylum simulans). Usually reddish brown, the fruits…
View Details »
Cardamom
Posted 08-04-2011 in Spices and Herbs
Cardamom
Green cardamom Elettaria cardamomum – is an expensive spice, sometimes called the “seed of paradise”. The fruit is harvested before it is completely ripe…
View Details »

All Articles in "Spices and Herbs"