Asafoetida ( Hing)
It is also known as devil's dung. It is a resin taken from a plant from the parsley family. It is a distinctive and pungent spice. It is most commonly found in powdered form. When cooked, it has a truffle-like flavor and a roasted garlic aroma.
Asafoetida – Name in different Indian Languages.
Hindi - Hing, Bengali – Heeng, Gujrati – Hing, Punjabi – Hing, Tamil –Perumkayam,
Urdu – Heeng
It is used mainly for its digestive properties, especially in the cooking of beans and lentils, as it is reputed to have antiflatulence properties
Use in minute quantities, adding directly to cooking liquid, frying in oil, or steeping in water. Asafoetida is used mostly in Indian vegetarian cooking, in which the strong onion-garlic flavour enhances many dishes, especially those of Brahmin and Jain castes where onions and garlic are prohibited. It is used mostly in south and west India, though it does not grow there. It is used in many lentil dishes (often to prevent flatulence), vegetarian soups and pickles. It is also suited to many fish dishes. Asafoetida is an important ingredient of the snack called cheewra - a mixture of grains, dried fruits, and spices. It can be added to flavor fish and vegetable dishes. A pinch of it can be fried in hot oil before the rest of the ingredients are cooked.
It is vital to keep asafoetida in airtight containers as its sulfurous odour will effect other foods and spices. It is most commonly available as a powder or granules that can be added directly to the cooking pot. It is also sold in lumps that need to be crushed before using. This is a very powerful spice and even in its ground state lasts well over a year if stored properly, away from light and air.
As it has a stong flavor if added in excess it can subside all other flavours in the recipe and make it unpalatable.