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Asafoetida/Devil's dung

Ferula assafoetida
Ferula assafoetida
Did you know that… ?
  1. …asafoetida's unpleasant odor comes from sulfur compounds, which fortunately disappears when cooked?
  2. …asafoetida is a favorite spice in India, primarily for vegetarian dishes?
  3. …asafoetida extract is an ingredient in Worcestershire sauce?
  4. …asafoetida may be approximately replaced with a mix of garlic, onion, pepper, ginger and coriander?
  5. …ground asafoetida, together with mint, ginger, ajwain, cayenne pepper, cumin and dried pomegranate seeds is an essential ingredient in the Indian spice mix "Chaat masala"?
  6. …Romans stored asafetida in jars along with dried pinion nuts, and this ancient method is still used today?
  7. …asafoetida calms the soul, and stimulates the nervous system and secretion of sex hormones?
  8. …asafoetida as a spice consists of fresh or dried in clusters or ground juice from roots of the Ferula assafoetida plant?
Ferula asa-foetida, giant fennel

Rice with pine nuts and mushrooms

4 tablespoons butter
125 g sliced mushrooms
30 g pine nuts
250 g cooked long-grained rice
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
pinch asafetida
pepper, salt

Melt butter in a saucepan, add mushrooms and simmer gently, until lightly browned. Season to taste. In another small pan, sauté pine nuts. Warm cooked rice as necessary and mix in mushrooms, nuts, asafetida and parsley. Season again and serve immediately.


Practically throughout human history, asafoetida has been used in exorcisms, or to ward off demons and evil spirits. Asafoetida is also a very old spice. As early as the 6th century BC, asafoetida was imported from southern Asia to northern Africa (Kirenaika, in today's Libya) where it spread widely; however, due to overharvesting, it died out again. Ancient Romans used asafoetida as a medicine, and as a spice for sauces and wine. Asafoetida is a resin, distributed as grains or chunks, shiny, grayish-yellow at first, later turning darker, even brownish-black. It is gathered by cutting roots for their sap. Asafoetida is originally from Kashmir.