is a dried, resinous gum obtained from the stems
and rhizomes or taproots of three species of the
Ferula (giant fennel) plant. Although available
in 'tears' and 'lumps', it is most commonly
found in powdered form. When solid asafoetida is
crushed, the sulphur compounds in the volatile
oil are released, giving it a strong, unpleasant
smell, reminiscent of pickled garlic.
Asafoetida has a very strong, pungent smell
and the flavour mellows as it is fried in oil.
When cooked, it has a truffle-like flavour and a
roasted garlic aroma.
Originally found in Afghanistan and Iran,
Asafoetida emerged in India during the Moghul
Reign and has since been cultivated in Kashmir
A word of warning however: asafoetida should
only be used sparingly in any cooked dish where
garlic would be appropriate even a tiny amount
enhances the flavour of a dish or spice mix.