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Simplified International Flavours


Asafoetida is called (hindi name) in Hindi. Its name originates from the fact that it is a resin which has a strong sulphurous smell. It is basically a fetid smelling asa, or resin in Latin. It is actually the dried sap from the stem and roots of the herbal plant Ferula, and not a seed, herb or spice. The sap is mixed with rice powder or wheat powder. The herbal plant is grown in Kashmir and in some parts of Punjab. The two main varieties of asafoetida are Hing Kabuli Sufaid (Milky White Asafoetida) and Hing Lal (Red Asafoetida). Asafoetida is extensively used in India for flavouring curries, sauces and pickles in conjunction with garlic and onion. Asafoetida is acrid and bitter in taste and emits a strong disagreeable, pungent, alliaceous odour due to the presence of sulphur compounds. Asafoetida fried in ghee reduces this acrid, sulphurous aroma, and also acts as a flavour enhancer in food. Because of the strong flavour, it is mixed with starch, converted and sold as compounded asafoetida mostly in bricket form or powdered form. Use it sparingly, just a pinch, as the flavour will dominate all others!

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Anuja Kohli Mariwala

An engineer, home cook, Pilates instructor, Education Consultant and mother of four.

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