Hing, also known around India as asafoetida, jowani badian, hengu, inguva, perungayam, is one of the most essential spices used in Indian cuisine. Native to the desserts of Iran and Afghanistan, asafoetida is extracted from the roots of a perennial herb called ferula and has a very strong pungent odour. In fact, the odour is so strong that asafoetida is usually stored in a separate airtight container to prevent the smell from influencing other spices.
Hing plays an extremely important role in South Indian cuisine by enhancing the flavours of the dish. In North Indian cooking, it is often used along with turmeric in various recipes like dal, chickpea curries, and different types of vegetable dishes based in potatoes and cauliflower. Asafoetida is usually quickly heated in hot oil and sprinkled on food. It is used in various vegetarian and non-vegetarian recipes to enhance the flavour of the dishes. For Jain community in India, asafoetida is of utmost importance since they don’t consume onion and garlic.