Asafeotida Powdered

Spice Profile: Asafetida

Scientific Name Ferula Species

What is Asafetida?

Asafetida is used is used essentially only in Indian cooking. It has a strong onion-garlic flavor. It is the resinous gum from a giant fennel called ferula. It is dried and sold as whole tears, whole lumps, crushed tears, or, most popular, ground tears

What is the History of Asafetida?

Asafatida is native to Iran and Afghanistan. It has been used for more than 2000 years. It was often used in Roman cooking and arrived in India via the Moghul empire.


How is Asafetida Grown?

Asafetida is a milky sap that is harvested from three species of Ferula, a giant fennel. Just before it flowers, the stems are cut and earth is scraped away to expose the large taproot. The taproot is cut and the milky sap exudes and hardens into a reddish brown (looks similar to brown sugar). Sunlight will spoil the liquid, so the process must be covered.


How Can I Use Asafetida?

Asafetida should be used sparingly and fried lightly before adding to a dish. It can be used anywhere garlic would be appropriate and can be rubbed on the grill before cooking. It is used in some curry powders and on meats and vegetables.

Fun Facts

  • Asafetida is not used at all in its native Iran.
  • The name literally means 'stinking resin'
  • In the Moghul Empire, it was believed that Asafetida enhanced singers voices.


Herbs and Spices by Jill Norman


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