Asafoetida/Hing-“Food of the God”
4 mins read

Asafoetida/Hing-“Food of the God”

Asafoetida (Ferula Asafoetida)/Hing/Perangayam/Inguva is the dried sap obtained from the stems and roots of the Ferula plant. It is also known as “Food of the God” because of its numerous health benefits and “Devil’s Dung” because of its pungent smell. It is used extensively in the culinary world and for medicinal purposes. Though it is native to Afghanistan and Iran, it is grown in India too.

Hing is one of the most indispensable ingredients in Indian Kitchens and is used as a seasoning. In its raw form, the taste and aroma is very appealing.  But when cooked, its flavor and aroma become much more palatable. A small pinch of Hing can add savory to dishes like dal, curries, lentils, stew, meat, etc. It is one of the key components in Indian pickles.

“Asafoetida” is an oleogumresin and does not contain any foreign resin. On the other hand, “Compounded Asafoetida” more popularly known as Bandhani Hing is a compound of one or more varieties of Asafoetida (Irani/Pathani Hing or both) and Gum Arabic and Edible Starch. The pungent odor in Asafoetida is due to the high concentration of sulfur compounds. Since pure Hing has a powerful flavor and aroma, it is often blended with Starch and Edible gum and sold as compounded Asafoetida in solid or powdered form. Edible gum is the hardened sap of the acacia tree, which is Raw, Non-GMO (produced without genetic modification), and Non-Irradiated (not undergone a process of ionizing radiation to increase shelf life).

There are two varieties of Asafoetida, “Hing Kabuli Sufaid (Milky White Asafoetida)” and “Hing Lal (Red Asafoetida)”. You also find “Irani Hing” which is said to have originated from Iran and “Pathani Hing” which originated from Afghanistan

Health Benefits of Hing

    • In Ayurveda, Hing is used in aiding digestion and gas.
    • It is also helpful in treating kidney stones and bronchitis.
    • It is considered rich in antioxidants and is believed to help treat IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), a chronic digestive condition characterized by abdominal pain, bloating, constipation, etc.

My mother always applies Hing mixed in warm water on the tummy whenever anyone gets a tummy ache. It helps release flatulence and provides immediate relief. This remedy works well on newborn babies/toddlers and adults.

Tests to check the Purity of Asafoetida/Hing

Hing is an expensive spice and is prone to adulteration. Non-edible gums/resins/soapstone and other material are often added to adulterate it. Since it is an essential ingredient in our daily cooking, one must ensure to buy unadulterated Hing. Below are some tests to check its purity.

    • Take a small quantity of Hing in a steel spoon and burn itPure Hing burns like camphor. An adulterated one will not produce a bright flame.
    • Mix a small quantity of Asafoetida with water in a glass container and leave it for 5 minutes. Check for any sediment at the bottom. If you find sediments, the Hing is impure.
    • When you mix pure Hing in water, it turns milky. If the water doesn’t turn milky, it is impure.
    • When you rub Hing between your fingers, the smell doesn’t go off even after washing your hands with soap. If the Hing is impure, the smell goes off once you wash your hands.
    • When you put Hing in hot ghee/oil it simmers. If it comes together and forms a lump, it is impure.

Buying and Storing Asafoetida/Hing

    • While buying Hing from the market, buy the solid form instead of the powdered form as the powdered one is more prone to adulteration.
    • Never buy Hing that is left open. Always buy it only from a shop which stores it properly.
    • Hing should be stored by wrapping it in a chemical-free paper and putting it in an air-tight glass jar/tin jar.
    • As Hing has a strong odor, the smell lingers for a long time in the container. You can try the tips in the link to de-stink your storage container. De-stink your glass jars with these super easy hacks.

6 thoughts on “Asafoetida/Hing-“Food of the God”

  1. I as well as my friends came examining the excellent guidelines from your website and then the sudden I got a horrible feeling I had not expressed respect to the site owner for those secrets. Most of the guys are actually totally warmed to read through all of them and have honestly been making the most of them. We appreciate you genuinely quite kind and for making a choice on this sort of outstanding things most people are really desperate to understand about. Our own sincere regret for not expressing gratitude to you sooner.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *