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Nutrition data (3.5 oz/100 g)

Proteins0.14 oz/4 g
Fats0.01 oz/1.1 g
Carbohydrates2.4 oz/68 g
Energy297 kcal

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Asafoetida is a traditional Indian spice with a strong odor reminiscent of a mixture of onion and garlic. In spite of the fact that the name of asafoetida is literally translated as a bad smelling resin, it is a commonly used spice of Indian cuisine due to its great healing properties.  

Asafoetida is dried dark-brown resin obtained from the roots of ferula asafoetida plants. It has a very sharp bitter taste and unpleasant garliclike odor.  In order to make the taste and smell less intense asafoetida is usually mixed with rice, wheat or cereal flour and sold in the form of a powder. In India it is possible to buy the spice in its pure form but it should be fried in oil before use. Powder asafoetida instead does not require prior frying.


The culinary uses of asafoetida

In India asafoetida is one of the most popular spices. It can be added to curries, soups, legume and vegetable dishes, spice blends and sauces. In traditional Vedic cooking asafoetida is a very important ingredient as it is a good alternative for garlic and onion.

Asafoetida pairs perfectly with nuts, grains, legumes and mushrooms. It should be used in tiny amounts and stored in airtight containers in order to prevent diffusion of its pungent odor.    

Asafoetida benefits

From times immemorial asafoetida is known as a powerful digestion stimulant. People in India joke that using asafoetida it is possible to digest even nails and there is great deal of truth in it. Asafoetida helps reduce flatulence that is why it is recommended to add a pinch of the spice into heavy dishes containing legumes, potato, and cabbage.  

Asafoetida has also antiviral actions and help to fight with cold and flu. In India asafoetida is also used as a folk remedy for female disorders, impotence, nervous breakdown, and toothache.

Where to buy asafoetida

Unfortunately asafoetida is not very popular outside India so it may be challenging to find it in your city. You will likely find it in Indian spices shops, Hare Krishna temples, or internet shops.

Interesting facts

In India singers take asafoetida dissolved in water before singing in order to mellow their voices. 

Asafoetida: recipes