What is Hing, Asafoetida? Glossary | Benefits, Uses, Recipes Viewed 136968 times

What is Asafoetida, Hing?

Asafoetida is said to have originated in Rome, and despite not being a native of India, it has been used in Indian medicine and cookery for ages. It is a resin that is ochre in colour and it is most widely used in its powdered or granulated form, which is usually yellow in colour. The resin is difficult to grate and is traditionally crushed using mortar and pestle. The most commonly available form these days is compounded asafoetida, which contains 30 per cent resin and 70 per cent gum Arabic and rice flour or maida.

Also Known as

Asafetida, Hing, Perungayam

Hing is mostly sold in a powdered form and it widely using in Indian cooking. Hing when uncooked is very pungent but gives a very nice strong flavor to the food once cooked. Asafoetida is an essential in Indian cooking and is used in a lot in dals, subzis and sambhars along with other spices like turmeric.

Indian asafoetida from Kashmir is highly valued in the international market.

In the raw form, the smell of asafoetida can be quite irritating, but once cooked it changes in nature and imparts a very good aroma to the dishes.

How to Select Hing

• Two main varieties are available, classified on the basis of their place of origin, flavour and colour: Hing Kabuli Sufaid (milky white asafoetida) and Hing Lal (red asafoetida). Choose the variety that suits your taste.
• Check the manufacturing and expiry date, packaging etc. before purchase.
• You can buy it in block form or in powdered form.

5 Uses of Hing, Asafoetida

1. Asafoetida is one of the most important spices in the Indian cuisine and is used in everyday cooking of subzis like Aloo Methi.

2. It is added to the tempering or tadka which is then poured over dals and even snacks like Khandvi.

3. Hing has an umami taste which mildly resembles the taste of onion and garlic and that’s why it is used widely by jains in their food as a substitute like in Masala Puri.

4. Even though you can temper it in oil, it tastes the best with ghee, especially when added to curries.

5. Asafoetida can be used in two ways, either cooked in oil or ghee or dissolved in water to flavor sambars and kadhi.

How to Store

• Store asafoetida in an air-tight container as it has a pungent smell that can fill your cupboard!
• Also, since the smell lingers in the container a long time after it is emptied, try and use the same container month after month, or go for a disposable one.

Health Benefits of Hing, Asafoetida

·        Asafoetida is an age-old remedy for bloating and other stomach problems like flatulence. The best solution is to gulp down little hing with water or dissolve it in water and sip it.

·        To some it's also a cure to acidity.

·        The active compound 'coumarin' helps in managing blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

·        Hing, Asafoetida is known to have anti-bacterial properties, which helps to keep asthma at bay.

·        It can also be used along with curd or almond oil as a hair mask. It helps to prevent dryness of hair and smoothen as well as strengthen hair.