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.
In addition to the culinary uses it has lots of medicinal uses as well.
- Cholesterol lowering agent
- Blood thinner
- Contraceptive / Abortifacient
However, there is lack of scientific data about its use as a medicinal substance.
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 growth of vegetables.
Worcestershire sauce contains asafoetida.
Ancient Ayurvedic literature has detailed descriptions about its medicinal uses.
It is available in two forms.
As 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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