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Asafoetida or HING is used in savory dishes, often to add a more full flavor by mimicking the taste of onions, garlic, egg, and even meat. It's a staple ingredient in Indian cooking, commonly used along with turmeric in lentil dishes like dal, and a variety of vegetable dishes.
Used along with turmeric, Asafoetida is a standard component of lentil curries, such as dal, chickpea curries, and vegetable dishes, especially those based on potato and cauliflower. Asafoetida is used in vegetarian Indian cuisine where it enhances the flavor of numerous dishes, where it is quickly heated in hot oil before sprinkling on the food. Kashmiri cuisine also uses it in lamb/mutton dishes such as rogan josh. It is sometimes used to harmonise sweet, sour, salty, and spicy components in food.
Asafoetida is part of the celery family and thought to be in the same genus as silphium, a plant now believed to be extinct, and was used as a cheaper substitute for that historically important herb. The species is native to the deserts of Iran and mountains of Afghanistan, but is mainly cultivated in nearby India Asafoetida has a pungent smell, but in cooked dishes it delivers a smooth flavour reminiscent of leeks.
Cook with fat (ideally ghee) to bring out the full potential of Asafoetida.