Asafoetida Powder and Whole AsafoetidaAsafoetida (asafetida) is the dried gum from the tap root of several species of Ferula (a kind of giant Fennel). It is a perennial herb which grows up to 5ft in height / mainly cultivated in India.
Asafoetida has an extremely pungent, powerful, yet unique, aroma but when Asafoetida is cooked, it is more reminiscent of Leeks, Onions and/or Garlic.
In India Asafoetida is crucial for the Jains, who do not eat root crops (ie Onions, Garlic etc).
It is primarily used in Legume dishes (Dals, Beans etc) and also vegetable dishes. It is said that Asafoetida can reduce flatulence but this may be more an Old Wives Tale rather than fact.
Asafoetida is also referred to as Asant, Food of the Gods, Devil's Dung, Stinking Gum, Hing, Kayam and Ting.
In ground form Asafoetida is often blended with Wheat, Rice Flour and Gum Arabic.