Asafoetida is the dried latex (gum oleoresin) exuded from the living underground rhizome or tap root of several species of Ferula (three of which grow in India), which is a perennial herb (1 to 1.5 mtr. High). Asafoetida is a hard resinous gum, grayish-white when fresh, darkening with age to yellow, red and eventually brown. It is sold in blocks or pieces as a gum and more frequently as a fine yellow powder, sometimes crystalline or granulated.
Today, the most commonly available form is compounded asafoetida, a fine powder containing 30% asafoetida resin, along with rice flour and gum arabic.
Releasing an onion/garlic flavor when heated, asafoetida is extensively used for flavoring curries, spiced legumes, vegetables, Indian snacks, sauces, and pickles. In India it is always prized as an essential Indian cuisine incorporing the six tastes in its meals – sweet, salty, sour, pungent, bitter and astringent. Asafoetida always give a satisfying, robust taste to delicate lentils and vegetables and hence excellent for vegetarian foods. Better known to give a distinct taste and fragrance,
Because of its antibiotic and antimicrobial properties, it is highly valued as a traditional medicines.