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    Hing, perukaya, devils dung

    An extremely pungent resin extracted from a plant of the giant fennel family, asafoetida is frequently used in Indian and Middle Eastern cooking. In fact, asafoetida's strong spicy garlicky smell is quite off-putting. Do not attempt to taste it raw as it is not a pleasant experience. But if you can overcome the stink, which disappears in the cooking process, the smallest amount of it transforms vegetable dishes, meat stews and fish. It can be purchased in two forms : Pure brownish pink granules or a yellow white powder where rice and turmeric are powdered along with asafetida. Buy it in powdered form rather than chunks, which are hard to break down. Indians almost always use it whilst cooking dal as it reduces flatulence. I have seen my friend buy it in big chunks and her husband’s duty is to pinch out small parts and make it into even sized small balls so that it can be used later for her rasams and sambars. If this is not love then what is?!


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