In its natural form this Indian spice is a resin with a strong and unpleasant smell. The Persian, ‘asa’, refers to the resin-like gum, taken from sap extracted from the plant’s stem and roots. The Latin, ‘foetida’, indicates the spice’s unpleasant sulphurous odour.
Known for its unusual scent, asafoetida imparts an onion-y flavour to cooking, and is thought to aid digestion and reduce flatulence. Try it in lentil dishes or sprinkle on fish or meat before grilling.