Deutsch: Asant / Indian: Kayam

Asafoetida, also known as "hing" or "devil's dung," is a pungent and aromatic resin extracted from the roots of certain plants. It has been used for centuries in cooking and traditional medicine due to its unique flavor and potential health benefits. In this article, we will explore Asafoetida, providing a definition, discussing its culinary significance, offering examples of its use, addressing potential risks, and sharing a popular recipe. Additionally, we will touch upon the historical and legal aspects of this intriguing ingredient.

Definition and Culinary Significance: Asafoetida is a resin obtained from the taproots of various species of Ferula, a type of perennial herb native to the Middle East and Central Asia. It has a strong, pungent odor that mellows out when cooked, resulting in a garlic and onion-like flavor. Asafoetida is a key ingredient in Indian, Middle Eastern, and some Southeast Asian cuisines. Due to its unique flavor profile, it is used as a flavor enhancer and digestive aid.

Culinary Uses and Popular Recipe: Asafoetida is primarily used as a spice and flavoring agent in cooking. Here's a popular Indian recipe that features Asafoetida:

Recipe: Tadka Dal (Tempered Lentils)


  • 1 cup yellow lentils (toor dal or moong dal)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Asafoetida
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tomato, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder (adjust to taste)
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Fresh cilantro leaves, chopped, for garnish


  1. Wash and rinse the lentils thoroughly, then cook them in a pot with 3 cups of water until soft and mushy.
  2. In a separate pan, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the cumin seeds, mustard seeds, and Asafoetida. Let them sizzle for a few seconds.
  3. Add the minced garlic and sauté until it turns golden brown.
  4. Add the finely chopped onions and cook until they become translucent.
  5. Stir in the turmeric powder and red chili powder, then add the chopped tomatoes. Cook until the tomatoes are soft and the oil begins to separate.
  6. Combine the cooked lentils with the prepared spice mixture. Add salt to taste and simmer for a few minutes.
  7. Garnish the Tadka Dal with fresh cilantro leaves and serve hot with rice or Indian bread.

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