Asafoetida Ground Spice Standard Jar - 60g details and description
Steenbergs Asafoetida - or Hing - is an important specialist spice used in traditional Indian cuisine that is purported to help with the digestion of pulses, so is great for those who eat a vegetarian diet.
Asafeotida has a flavour that is very distinctive and stinky, being somewhat fetid and sulphurous but with that initial sweetness that garlic or onion have when they start going off and ferment a bit. This unique smell gives asafoetida its coarser names of "Devil's Dung" or "Stinking Gum". When fried briefly in hot oil, the smell tones down and becomes a sweet, onion-like flavour, which is why Brahmins in India often cook with it as they are prohibited from eating garlic and onions. As a result, asafoetida is one of those sneaky little spices that adds something special to dishes, even when only a small amount is added; you don't need it, but it creates an extra depth that somehow is lacking when it is removed.
Asafoetida is a deep brown, unpleasant looking oleoresin gum extracted from giant fennel, Ferula assafoetida, which grows to about 3 metres (10 ft) high. It looks similar to your vegetable patch fennel, but bigger and coarser in appearance, with bright yellow flowers that only blossom after about five years of growth. The asafoetida sap is collected from plants that are older than four years in age by tapping the base of the stem, then removing the drying resin in lumps that turn to a dark reddish-brown. The brown gum is musky and rotten in aroma and soft to touch. For more information about asafoetida, try Wikipedia.
To make commercially used asafoetida, the gum is ground with a form of starch, such as corn or wheat flour to give a coarse, light brown powder. Yellow asafoetida is made by mixing the gum with wheat or corn starch, gum arabic, turmeric and perhaps an artificial colour as well. At Steenbergs, our asafeotida is blended with fenugreek powder.
Use asafoetida as suggested in Indian recipe books or any lentil or pulse dishes that you serve with curries, such as dhal or chana masala or sambar. For more recipe ideas, check out BBC Recipes.
Ingredients: fenugreek powder, asafoetida gum.
Steenbergs Asafoetida is another specialist spice that Axel Steenberg has had great fun tracking down and is only sold to Steenbergs' web customers and via Amazon, but is not available to trade.