asafetida (hing)

Hindi terms: heeng, hing
English terms: asafetida, asafoetida
Other terms: -
asafetida (Wikipedia)

Unprocessed asafoetida in a jar and as a tincture

Asafoetida (/æsəˈfɛtɪdə/; also spelled asafetida) is the dried latex (gum oleoresin) exuded from the rhizome or tap root of several species of Ferula (F. foetida and F. assa-foetida), perennial herbs growing 1 to 1.5 m (3.3 to 4.9 ft) tall. They are part of the celery family, Umbelliferae. Notably, asafoetida is thought to be in the same genus as silphium, a North African plant now believed to be extinct, and was used as a cheaper substitute for that historically important herb from classical antiquity. The species are native to the deserts of Iran and mountains of Afghanistan where substantial amounts are grown. The common modern name for the plant in Iran and Afghanistan is (in Persian) badian, meaning 'that of gas or wind', due to its use to relieve stomach gas.

Asafoetida has a pungent smell, lending it the trivial name of "stinking gum". The odor dissipates upon cooking; in cooked dishes, it delivers a smooth flavour reminiscent of leeks or other onion relatives. Asafoetida is also known colloquially as "devil's dung" or "food of the devils" in English (and similar expressions in many other languages).