Asafoetida Spice. An Alternative to Onion and Garlic
Author: Shelley Bennetts Date Posted:12 July 2018
Asafoetida spice is used widely in Indian vegetarian and vegan cooking to counter the effects of gas-producing foods. If you suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and are on a FODMAP diet, then this spice offers a tasty, and healthy substitute for onion and garlic. Asafoetida is also known as Hing, Food of the Gods, and due to its rather potent smell, Devils Dung! It doesn't sound very appealing, I know, but for those who suffer from digestive problems, it’s worth knowing about.
Cooking with Asafoetida
For vegetarians, vegans and those whose diet includes a lot of gas-producing pulses, Asafoetida is a great spice to have in the pantry. It’s a very common ingredient in Ayurvedic cooking where dishes of cauliflower, lentils, chick peas and pulses are common. Whilst its raw smell is very potent, as it cooks the smell mellows, and is replaced with the smells and flavours of garlic and onion. These foods are not allowed on a FODMAP diet, so if you are missing the flavours they give to your food, Asafoetida spice is a healthy alternative.
For cooking, any Asafoetida powder you buy is blended with a variety of flours. Pure Food Essentials Asafoetida is compounded only with arrowroot starch, a gluten-free product. Compounding reduces the potency, and stops it from returning to a solid state. It’s always used in very small quantities in cooking. Just a quarter of a teaspoon in a dish is enough to work its gas-relieving magic!
Asafoetida is derived from the resin of a species of giant fennel. The resin is sun-dried into solid lumps and then ground into a powder. In this raw state, it’s incredibly pungent and used in tiny, tiny amounts, mostly in Ayurvedic and Western herbal medicines.
Always Buy Your Spices from a Source You Trust.
This incredible spice is grown only in Afghanistan and Iran and Kashmir. And, like many conventional spices, it’s often blended with questionable additives to bulk it up.
So, if you have a garlic and onion intolerance, or you're on a restrictive FODMAP diet, try Asafoetida for the flavour it offers. Or, if your vegan or vegetarian diet includes a lot of gassy foods, then just a pinch of Asafoetida in your cooking will help.
Because of its potent smell, and to keep it fresh, double bag it and reseal it quickly after use.