Friday, 27 December 2013

Asafoetida (Ferula asafoetida, Food of Gods, Devil's dung)

Today's post is about an interesting ingredient very popular in Indian cuisine. I do not know how many of you have heard about Asafoetida. 

Asafoetida resin is a gum-like material, that is made by solidifying the juice that extrudes out of the cut roots of Asafoetida plant. Asafoetida is widely used in cooking in India particularly as a flavor enhancer. One such popular dish in Kerala is Sambar. It is a concoction of spices, grated coconut, its oil, mixed with vegetables and asafoetida is an important ingredient in it. Apart from rice, dosa, idli etc. are traditionally eaten along with sambar.

Raw Asafoetida has a strong, intense fetid smell. Once a tiny quantity of it is heated with ghee or oil it imparts a wonderful flavor to the dish.

In addition to the culinary uses, it has lots of medicinal uses as well.
  • Antiflatulent 
  • Cholesterol-lowering agent
  • Blood thinner
  • Antiepileptic
  • Contraceptive/Abortifacient
However, there is a lack of scientific data about its use as a medicinal substance. Besides, it is used as a moth/mosquito repellent. It is said that Afghans put a small quantity of Asafoetida in their shoes to repel snakes. I remember reading somewhere that water admixed with asafoetida promotes the growth of vegetables. Worcestershire sauce contains asafoetida.

Ancient Ayurvedic literature has detailed descriptions of its medicinal uses. It is available in two forms. As a fine powder that is a mixture of asafoetida, gum arabic and rice powder. The Asafoetida gum as such is amber colored and is very hard in consistency.

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Shirley Tay said...

Thanks for this informative post, Rajiv! I'm "allergic" to mosquitoes, so it's nice to learn that it's also a mosquito repellent :)


Thanks for this wonderful comment Shirley.
I will soon write a post about mosquito repellents.

Joy said...

Thanks for the information Rajiv. Nice to know about it.
Happy New Year!

Linda said...

I've heard of it but I had no idea it is believed to repel snakes!


Welcome Joy.
Happy and prosperous new year wishes, in advance !


Hi Linda, I am honored to see your comment here.
Thanks for your visit to this blog.

Giga said...

Ciekawy produkt i ma wiele zastosowań. Nie słyszałam nigdy o tym. Dziękuję, że do mnie trafiłeś i zapraszam jeszcze. Pozdrawiam.
An interesting product and has many uses. There never heard about it. Thank you to come to me, and I invite yet. Yours.


Giga, Asafoetida is popular in Asia especially in India and the middle east. I thought of blogging about it since I read recently a lot about its many other uses that I highlighted in the post.
Feel happy that this info was useful for my readers.
Thanks for the comment, Giga ! See you !