Asafoetida or Asafetida is a strong pungent dried gum resin obtained from the taproots of several plants of the Ferula genus (sometimes called Giant Fennel) Ferula assafoetida, F. foetida and F. narthex. The plants are related to carrots and are native to the mountains of Central Asia. Today it is mainly used in India, Iran and Afghanistan as a condiment and seasoning in curries, etc.
Also known as stinking gum and devil's dung, asafoetida resin is obtained by making a cut in the top of the taproot and periodically scraping off the protective resin or sap that is exuded. Asafoetida is sold in lump and powdered form. It has a strong, unpleasant fetid aroma due to its complex mixture of sulfur compounds, which disappears when cooked and takes on an onion/garlic aroma and flavor.
About 500 tons of asafoetida gum resin is produced annually.
Supposedly asafoetida is one of the secret ingredients in Worcestershire Sauce.
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