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Name Variations

  • asafoetida powder
  • asafoetida
  • hing
  • devil's dung
  • ferula
  • foetida
  • food of the gods
  • heeng
  • imguva

About Asafetida

Wikipedia Article About Asafetida on Wikipedia

Asafoetida (Ferula assafoetida, family Apiaceae) is a species of Ferula native to Iran. It is a herbaceous perennial plant growing to 2 m tall, with stout, hollow, somewhat succulent stems 5-8 cm diameter at the base of the plant. The leaves are 30-40 cm long, tripinnate or even more finely divided, with a stout basal sheath clasping the stem. The flowers are yellow, produced in large compound umbels.

Asafoetida's English and scientific name is derived from the Persian word for resin (asa) and Latin foetida, which refers to its strong sulfurous odour. Its pungent odour has resulted in its being called by many unpleasant names; thus in French it is known (among other names) as Merde du Diable (Devil's faeces); in some dialects of English too it was known as Devil's Dung, and equivalent names can be found in most Germanic languages (e.g. German Teufelsdreck), and also Finnish Pirunpaska. In Turkish, it is known as Şeytantersi, Şeytan bökösu or Şeytanotu (the Devil's Herb). In many of the northern Indian languages (Hindi, Urdu, Gujarati, Punjabi, Marathi, Bengali) it is known as hing. A related name occurs in many Dravidian languages (e.g. Telugu Inguva, Kannada Ingu), but in Tamil, it is known as perungaayam.

Asafetida Recipes

Palak Paneer


  • 250 g (8oz) fresh spinach leaves
  • 1 tablespoon dried [[Fenugreek

leaves|fenugreek leaves]], optional

turmeric|ground turmeric]]

  • 1½ cups hot water
  • ¼ teaspoon black cumin seeds
  • small pinch asafoetida, optional
  • 1 tablespoon [[Coriander

seed|ground coriander]]



  1. Put the well washed spinach leaves into a pan with the water that clings to them, add the fenugreek leaves (if used), cover and steam until spinach is soft.
  2. Drain well and chop finely.
  3. Cut the cheese into cubes and spread on absorbent paper for a few minutes so that surface moisture is absorbed.
  4. In a small deep frying pan heat enough oil in which to fry the cubes of cheese.
  5. Add a tablespoon of ghee to flavour the oil.
  6. When oil is very hot, fry a handful of cheese cubes at a time.
  7. Have ready the turmeric stirred into one cup of hot water and when the cheese is pale golden lift out on a slotted spoon and drop into the turmeric water.
  8. Repeat until all the cheese is fried, leave in the water for about five minutes then drain.
  9. Heat about two tablespoons of the oil in a saucepan and add the black cumin seeds, asafoetida, coriander, chilli powder and ginger.
  10. Stir and fry briefly, taking care not to burn the spices.
  11. Add the spinach and salt and stir for a minute or two, then add about half cup hot water and the sugar.
  12. Simmer for five minutes.
  13. Stir the yoghurt until it is smooth, add it to the spinach and stir well.
  14. Add cheese and simmer for ten minutes longer.
  15. Serve hot with rice or chapatis.