Asafoetida, also known as hing, devil’s dung and stinking gum, is a dried and powdered resin from the giant fennel plant. It has an odd and slightly unpleasant smell, but the sulphur compounds mellow with cooking and the result is a flavour similar to onion or garlic. Asafoetida is a critical ingredient in Indian cooking, particularly among Brahmin and Jain sects whose diet forbids the use of root vegetables. Asafoetida has many medicinal uses and is most commonly used as a digestive aid. Use sparingly, as only a tiny amount will enhance the flavour of a dish.
We have recently switched to a gluten-free variety of asafoetida packaged in our own glass jars.