Asafoetida is an Indian spice. This powerful spice, also known as hing in India and sometimes spelled asafoetida, has an uncooked taste that is heavy, bitter and acidy – When fried briefly in oil it becomes mellow and the taste becomes onion-like. This is a major benefit to those of the Jainism sect whose strict vegetarian diet also won’t allow them to use roots (such as garlic or onions) and certain fruits.
Asafetida has also become a staple ingredient in many Indian vegetarian dishes for the enhanced flavor that it offers. Helpful hint – you should always use Asafetida sparingly and it can be used in any cooked dish that calls for garlic. It is also used in small amounts to intensify the flavor of some spice blends, most notably sambhar powder and is very good when used with fish, grilled or roasted meat and most vegetables.
Asafoetida is also a popular ingredient for those following gluten free diets.