Asafoetida: Allergy Friendly?!

Asafoetida is a spice used almost exclusively in Indian cooking.  Asafoetida (Ferula assafoetida) is also believed to have medicinal value and used to aid in digestion, decrease flatulence, figthing flu and even to give relief in cases of asthma. It is also referred to as asafetida, devil’s dung, stinking gum, asant, food of the gods, giant fennel, hing and ting.It is essentially the dried latex exuded from the living underground rhizome of several species of Ferula.

Asafoetida has a very  pungent, unpleasant smell when raw but  when used in minute quantities while cooking – it lends a rich aroma that is characterastic  of many an Indian dish. 

However – people with multiple food allergies and celiac disease should be careful when using Asafoetida because many commercial spice boxes of Asafoetida also contain wheat as one of the ingredients. So darn complicated – even a spice is not available in its pure form…

10 thoughts on “Asafoetida: Allergy Friendly?!”

    1. A pinch of asafoetida goes a very, very long way. It has an extremely pungent smell but in small quantities lends great flavor. So, instead of 3-4 cloves of garlic – I would use 1/8th of a teaspoon or even less. This is not an absolute substitute for onion but can be used as a substitue for onion powder. I would add less than 1/8th tsp of asafoetida for a 1 tablespoon of onion powder. Ensure that the asafoetida does not have wheat in it if you are allergic to wheat.

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  2. My question is the same as Alex: if one is allergic to latex, and this is the dried latex exhuded from a plant . . . . should one avoid this spice? Is it okay because it’s not from the rubber tree?

  3. I recently made an indian dish with hing with asafoetida although the gluten free form. I was violently ill within three hours. I am allergic to latex and gluten. I am trying to pinpoint the cause of the upset

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