The Indian Spice Industry

Salt, oil and spices are all important ingredients used while preparing Indian food. They are an essential part of our lives. A kitchen shelf which boasts of bottles containing turmeric, asefoetida, cumin seeds and the like is a common sight in an Indian household. The fact remains that in every house, spices of different kinds are used to make distinctive and different tastes in the Indian cuisine and a variety of spices are also used to enhance different flavors in our dishes.

The different variety of spices available in the market today are: Asafoetida or ‘hing’, Bay leaf or ‘tej patta’, Red Chili powder or ‘lal mirch’, Cardamom or ‘elaichi’, Coriander or ‘dhaniya’, Clove or ‘laung’, Curry leaves or ‘curry patta’, Cumin or ‘jeera’, Fenugreek or ‘methi’, Ginger or ‘adrak’, Garlic or ‘lassan’, Mustard seeds or ‘rye’, Nutmeg or ‘jaiphal, Black pepper or ‘kali mirch’, Saffron or ‘kesar’, Turmeric or ‘haldi’.


Diverse needs of Consumers

Most of these spices are grown in different parts of our country. Today the demand for Indian spices has increased many folds in other countries also.

  • Food– Indian spices help to enhance the flavour of our Indian recipes. These also add colour to a dish and make it more appetising.
  • Beauty products –Spices from India are widely used in beauty products and in spiritual ceremonies. When applied on skin as a paste it improves the complexion.
  • Medicinal value – Indian spices provide various health benefits. Some are used to heal wounds as well as treat rheumatic disorders, gastrointestinal symptoms, de-worming, rhinitis and it is also used as a cosmetic.Some also help boost our digestive system and have a positive effect on our health. These are widely used as detoxifying agents and for treating various health problems. They help prevent tumour formation, decrease gene mutations and exhibit anti-oxidative potential in animals.

 

History reveals that India has been exporting spices to various countries for centuries. Hence India is recognized all over the world for its spices. In the year 2012/13, India produced a total of approx. 5.9 million tones of spices out of which around 10 percent was exported to various countries. The Indian spice industry is growing rapidly.

Spice companies not only cater to the food industry but also sell their products to the cosmetic and pharmaceutical companies. Indian spice companies’ account for almost 45 to 50 percent of the spices exported around the world. Since the demand for spices has increased world over, India has become the centre for selling spices to other countries.

Companies from around the globe have been showing interest in Indian spices and are looking to join hands with local manufacturers. Indian spice manufacturers are setting up new production units all over the country to meet the rising demands from a growing majority of health conscious people who prefer using natural flavours of spices than cheaper synthetic flavours.

Spices are the basic building blocks of the Indian cuisine. With an industry that is estimated to grow to an approximate net worth of over 17 billion dollars by the 2018, the Indian spice companies have a lot to look forward to in the coming years.

Further more information about basic and premium Spices, visit – http://india.ramdevfood.com/products/premium-spices.html

The Right Ways to Use Spices in Cookery

Same recipe cooked by different people tastes different. Cooking is a skill, an art which one can learn by experimenting and using different spices and herbs. There is a whole range of spices to choose from but one has to know these spices and their correct usage.

Spices add flavor, colour and taste to a dish. One has to understand the right ways to use these spices. Always use herbs and spices discretely, more does not mean more taste, it can spoil the taste of the food.

Ways to add spices to Food for maximum flavor:

  • Use spices and herbs to improve the natural aroma of the food, do not mask the flavor.
  • Crush dry herbs just before adding these to the food. This gives a better flavor. Fresh herbs must be added at the end of the cooking for maximum aroma.
  • Do not use two strong flavoured herbs together. Always use one strong flavoured and one herb or spice with mild flavor.
  • While removing spices or herbs from the container use a dry spoon.
  • To get a blended flavor add herbs at the beginning of the cooking. But if you want a distinctive flavor then add herbs at the end of cooking.
  • Whole spices are best to use in dishes that take long to cook as these discharge the flavor slowly.
  • Ground herbs and spices give out flavor very easily and fast. In dishes that take long to cook like curries and stew, add ground spices towards the end of the cooking.
  • Foods that are not cooked or cold dishes like salads, fruits and juices, add spices and herbs many hours before the food is served to allow the flavous to blend well with the food.
  • While following a recipe, if you increase the quantity two times do not use double the amount of spices, add only 50% more.

All spices do not serve the same purpose. Ginger and garlic enhance the taste of the food, makes it taste rich, the food tastes spicy with chilli powder and with amchur powder (dry mango powder) the food tastes sour.

Foods and Spices

  • Black Pepper powder – For a more peppery taste grind the pepper fresh before adding to the dish. Long cooking reduces the flavor and taste of powder pepper, so add powder pepper towards the end of cooking.
  • Ginger  – For baking ginger powder can be used but for curries and dishes use fresh ginger for maximum benefits.
  • Saffron – The threads of saffron should be soaked before adding to a dish towards the end of the cooking.
  • Coriander leaves – To retain the maximum flavor of these leaves add them to the dish at the very end of the cooking and just stir them into the dish.
  • Whole spicesWhole spices like cinnamon, cloves and whole pepper corns can be added to a dish when liquid is added to it.

Conclusion

Different spices serve different purpose, flavor and taste to different foods. You need to experiment with various combinations of spices and herbs to get your perfect dish. So go ahead add some mew herbs and spices to your dinner and see the difference.

Various Spices used in South Indian Cuisine

India is a vast country with diverse geological regions, cultures and food. The food and the food habits of each region, East, West, North and South are completely different. The climate of each region influences the type of food eaten in that area.

In South India the climate is sultry and hot. They receive a good amount of rainfall and also fruits and vegetables are easily available. Their main food is rice, and the popular south Indian dishes are sambhar, rasam, dosa, idli, vadas, payasam etc and not to forget a range of chutneys.  The chief spices and ingredients are lentil, tamarind, curry leaves, chilies, and mustard, cumin, cinnamon, etc. Coconut oil is commonly used.

All the spices and ingredients used in South Indian cuisine have dietary as well as therapeutic benefits. The food is hot and spicy and it has a blend of taste, aroma, smell, and seasoning.

Tamarind – This is a commonly used spice in South Indian cuisine. It is rich in dietary fibre and helps to excrete bad cholesterol from the body. It is anti-oxidant and is rich in iron, calcium, copper, potassium etc. It is also rich in a number of vitamins.

Turmeric –The rhizome of the plant is dried and powdered. It is a part of almost all South Indian dish, it adds colour to the food. It is a natural antibiotic and when added to food its healing ability is beneficial to the body. It has calming effect on the stomach, it is anti –inflammatory and kills inner parasites and also purifies blood.

Coconut – Grown in large quantity, coconut is the main ingredient of South Indian cuisine. Fresh grated coconut or its milk is used to make the curry thick, to add flavor and taste to a dish.

Cinnamon – This is the bark of the tree. It lowers LDL cholesterol, is beneficial for diabetes, it gives relief to people suffering from arthritis. It is a natural food preservative so when it is added to food it averts the growth of bacteria and prevents the food from spoiling.

Asafetida ( hing) – This has a pungent flavor and a strong taste. It is beneficial for respiratory disorders, flatulence, impotency etc.

Black Pepper – When added to food it improves digestion, it reduces intestinal gas, it is an anti oxidant and prevents the growth of bacteria in the intestines.

Cardamom – It helps to offset acidity in the stomach and when the powder of cardamom is sprinkled on coffee it act as an aphrodisiac. When added in food it improves digestion and helps to lessen stomach gas.

Cumin seeds – Cumin has a strong discrete flavor, it improves digestion, helps to cure heart burn and stomach pain. The seeds are anti oxidants and anti- flatulent, these help in digestion. These are rich in vitamins and minerals like iron, copper, calcium, vitamin E, A, and C etc.

Mustard seeds – Mustard seeds are used in almost all dished in South India. These add a pungent aroma to the food. These are used in vegetarian as well as non vegetarian dishes, and also in pickles and chutneys.

Mustard seeds are rich in anti-oxidants, minerals and vitamins. They are a rich source of B-complex vitamins, and vitamin E. It helps to lower blood cholesterol and regulate the metabolism.

Conclusion

All the spices used in South Indian cuisine are of pant origin. These prevent diseases and promote health. They also increase the flavor of a dish.

The Significance of Red Chilli Powder

Red Chilli PowderThe chilli, or chilli pepper, is the fruit of a plant. Humans have been eating it since over 6000 years. It has been used in food and in medicines. It was first discovered in America, but today it is being produced, exported and also consumed by India the most as compared to other countries.

The contribution of Andhra Pradesh in the export of the chilli is about 75%. There are many varieties of chilli pepper, out of these five species are cultivated. Capsaicin is the substance that gives the chillies their ‘hot’ flavour.

Red Chilli powder

Red chilli powder or lal mirch powder is a very hot spice, if consumed in excess it can cause a burning sensation on the tongue, in stomach, and in ears. So, it should be taken in small quantity. In Indian cuisine, red chillies are used whole or in powder form. It is used in almost all Indian dishes. Its red colour and hot aroma augment a recipe.

Ripe red chillies are sun dried to conserve them for a long time. After grinding them the popular red chilli powder is formed. This is used in curries and other cuisine to give the dish its beautiful bright colour.

Two types of red chilli powder is found in the market, dark red coloured powder is less hot as compared to the light red coloured which is very spicy. Take care while buying the chilli powder, check the label and buy a good brand chilli powder.

Storage of Red Chilli Powder

Red chilli powder can be stored for 10 to 12 months in air tight containers. It should be kept in cold, dry places away from direct heat and sun. A small piece of asafetida added to the container keeps the powder fresh for a longer time.

Benefits of Red Chilli powder

  • Vitamin C is found in huge amount in chillies. It is a water soluble antioxidant.
  • These also contain vitamin B, carotene, and minerals like potassium, iron and magnesium.
  • Capsaicin found in red chillies improves metabolism and blood circulation.
  • Capsaicin is anti-bacterial, and a pain reliever.
  • It reduces pain and helps to clear congested respiratory system.
  • It helps to reduce weight, hastens digestion and metabolism.
  • It reduces LDL cholesterol in overweight people.
  • It improves the ability of the body to dissolve fibrin needed to form blood clots during an injury.
  • It helps to improves immune system of the body as it contains vitamins A, B, and C.
  • Capsaicin in red chillies, is anti-inflammatory, so it helps in the treatment of arthritis, psoriasis etc.

Uses of Chilli Pepper /Powder

  • To make hot sauce, fresh or dried chillies are used.
  • It is one of the main ingredients of the spice mixture, curry powder.
  • It is used to add taste, colour and flovour in almost all Indian dishes.
  • In soups, chilli sauce etc. it is used as a seasoning agent.
  • It is used to prepare vegetables, curries, snacks, and pickles.
  • Capsaicin found in chilli pepper, is the main constituent of pepper spray, a non- toxic weapon.

Conclusion

Red chilli powder is used in every Indian home for almost all dishes to add taste, colour, flavor etc. A dish looks drab without red chilli powder. It is one of the essential spices for seasoning a dish. With the range of health benefits it sure is an important spice.

Red Chilli Powder for Good Health

Indian food is greatly influenced with chilli powder. The hot flavour of the chilli powder enhances the recipes. It is the base for making any flavoured, hot and spicy food. It is used in vegetarian and non-vegetarian cooking. It adds a lovely and wonderful red colour and sharp flavour in any recipe. Dishes can be easily enhanced and improved with adding a little amount of chilli powder in them.  Besides, red chillies are highly incorporated with the contents like Vitamin C and pro vitamin A. Capsaicin is a proven and an effective treatment for sensory nerve fibre disorders. Red chillies are known to be natural pain relievers. They are effective in clearing the congestion of the nose and lungs.

Red chillies greatly help the obese people, as they are known to help in losing weight and boost the immunity in the body. Red Chilli Powder is an indispensable ingredient in most dishes. The Red Chilli Powder adds a hot flavour to the dish. Chillies contain an impressive list of plant derived chemical compounds that are known to have disease preventing and health promoting properties. The capsaicin in chillies has anti-bacterial, anti-carcinogenic, analgesic and anti-diabetic properties. It also found to reduce LDL cholesterol levels in obese individuals. Chillies contain a good amount of minerals like potassium, manganese, iron, and magnesium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure.

Red chilli powder contains vitamin A and our body needs vitamin A for the maintenance of your eyesight as you age as well as to contribute to maintaining the health of your bones, teeth, skin, internal membranes and reproductive systems. Red chilli powder also contains vitamin C and vitamin C is an antioxidant. Vitamin C also helps strengthen your immune system and heal injuries. It is also rich in many important minerals.

Chilli has been the most important spice throughout the history. Chilli powder, when used in any dish, transforms the bland dish into a deliciously hot dish. Dried chilli contributes the major share among the spices consumed in India. It has a pungent and a pleasant flavour. Chillies stimulate our taste buds and thereby increase the flow of saliva which contains the enzyme amylase which in turn helps in the digestion of starchy or cereal foods etc. into glucose. It gives piquancy and spice to the dish. It is the easiest way to give life to the dish. Chillies stimulate our taste buds and thus increase the flow of saliva which contains the enzyme amylase which in turn helps in the digestion of starchy or cereal foods etc. into glucose.

Chillies help to clear the lungs, and stimulate digestive system and stimulate the taste buds. They act as detoxifiers as they remove waste products from our body and increases supply nutrients to the tissues. The pungency in the chilli powder depends on the variety of the chilli used in preparing the powder. The low oil content helps in retaining its red colour which will not fade away with time.

Indian Spices – Best of Healthy & Tasty Food

Spices are dried aromatic parts of the plants, normally the leaf, flower, roots, bark or nuts of a plant, pods, stalks or berries, which are dried, maybe roasted and ground to be added to the other ingredients. Spices add flavour, aroma and add therapeutic value to the food items. It is actually hard to imagine cooking without spices. With us having a huge variety of ground spices of the finest quality…..the potential for cooking and creating delicious recipes at home has never been better!

The enthusiasm for trying different flavours lies behind the availability of ready spices. Use of spices dates back centuries and encompasses both cooking and healing roles. Today, there also a revival of interest in the healing power of spices and are becoming popular for their mild therapeutic qualities.

People throughout the world flavour their foods and beverages with spices. The traditional dishes of Asia feature large quantities of cinnamon, cloves, ginger and pepper. Spices enhance the flavour and aroma of any dish. Each and every spice has its own merit. Pickling spices act as preservatives of meat and other foods which would otherwise spoil. Spices possess nutritional and medicinal merits as well. Today, there is a better understanding of the role spices play in our well-being. Ayurveda, the system of Indian medicine, inculcates a large number of spices in its combination of preventive and curative medicines. The extra zing that makes Indian food so popular all over the world is because of the spices used to cook Indian food dishes. The basis for Indian sauces is the ground masalas and spices. The popular Garam masala is used in many types of gravy and otherwise. The combinations of the different spices used in the Indian foods vary from region to region in India and this gives the unique flavour to the dishes. India is a vast country with many states. The spices are mixed together to make various combination spices which make the food more palatable and tasty. Spices add nutrients and flavour to the dishes without fat or calories.

Turmeric, an essential spice in Indian food, is used because turmeric inhibits blood clotting, reduces liver toxins, and helps the liver metabolize fats and so aids weight loss. . It is believed that turmeric could play a role in slowing down the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. Peppercorns have a pungent, woody aroma and are hot. The garam masala is a mixture of spices. Asafoetida is a resin taken from a plant, and is a distinctive and pungent spice. It is commonly found in the powdered form. Asafoetida is used mainly for its digestive properties, especially in the cooking of beans and lentils, as it is known to have anti-flatulence properties. All Indian spices offer significant health benefits and contribute towards a healthy life of the individuals. The five key Indian spices are cumin seeds, coriander seeds, ground turmeric, mustard seeds, and ground red chilli powder. All of these provide harmony in flavour of the food.

The Popularity of Traditional Indian Spices

India is known in the world for its beautiful traditions and its mouth-watering food. The food items and the recipes are famous throughout the world due to the spices used in them. These spices add aroma and taste to the food, they also possess certain medicinal values.

Indian food cannot be imagined without these spices. Indian spices like celery, coriander, cumin, and mint have been proved to cure a variety of diseases like common cold, cough, cancerous tumors etc. Now people are beginning to understand the significance of Indian spices in food and medicine. Spices are known to have a positive influence on the digestive process and the absorption of the food.

Spices not only enhance the flavor and aroma of the food they also provide color, and taste to a range of cuisines. Even the western countries have adopted the use of these spices in food preparations. These may be used whole or in powder form. Indian food and spices have been popular all over the world since early times.

The Romans and the Arab traders imported spices from India. Indian cuisine and spices became very popular all over the world by the Middle Ages.  India had active spice trade with major kingdoms in Asia and Europe. At that time many battles were also fought to get access to the spice route to India.

Some of the main and commonly used Indian spices comprise black pepper, turmeric powder, asafetida, cardamom, mustard, coriander, ginger, cumin, red chilli powder, fennel, cloves etc. The spices are also used to make a variety of medicines and cosmetics. Mustards and  cloves are used to preserve food for long period of time.

The spices are derived from different parts of the plants.

  • Roots – Spices like turmeric, ginger, garlic and onion are the roots of the plant. Turmeric has anti-bacterial and antiseptic properties. It is used in a variety of cosmetics and other beauty products. It is used for treating internal injuries. Ginger is used for treating stomach problems, ulcers, common colds and acidity.
  • Leaves – The leaves of peppermint, rosemary, curry leaves, coriander and  methi are very popular.  Mint leaves give a unique and distinctive flavor to the dishes. Coriander leaves have a refreshing aroma. These leaves have a number of medicinal benefits like improving digestion and the appetite.
  • Bark – Cinnamon, the most popular varieties of Indian spicy, is the bark of a tree. It has a rich aroma and a strong flavor. It is used in a number of dishes for its appetizing taste. It aids in lowering blood sugar and cholesterol and to improve the digestive system.
  • Flowers – Caper, rose and saffron are parts of the flower, and are  used in the Indian cuisine for their rich and unique fragrance.
  • Seeds – The seeds of cumin, coriander, cardamom, fenugreek etc. are some very popular Indian spices. Fenugreek is used for purification of blood, as a laxative, and as an antidote for various skin problems. Cumin is a popular seasoning, which is rich in iron and has antioxidant properties.

Thus, spices essentially add spice in life and to the diet. Using spices is a simple way to improve the food and to boost your overall health. This is the major reason for the popularity of traditional Indian spices.

Red Chilly Powder – The Use of Red Chilly Powder in Indian Cuisine

Across the world Indian food has become a craze. The mouth watering cuisine of India is rich in tempting flavours, wide variety and the aromatic spices. It is no wonder then that the people from all corners of the globe are so fond of Indian food.

The curry was the first Indian delicacy to reach the western countries. Previously, only tandoori chicken, parathas and nans were considered as Indian food. Now, people have realized that Indian cuisine is much more than tandoori chicken.

Spices are the soul of Indian cuisine. The most unique feature of Indian ethnicity is the spices that make the food so tempting and appetizing. Indian spices are colorful and diverse and they have varied aroma and fragrance. Some spices have special value and health benefits also. The basic Indian spices used in food are turmeric powder, coriander powder,  mustard seeds, cloves, cumin seeds, black pepper, red-chilli powder etc.

Chillies are the fruit of the Capsicum plant that belongs to the species, Capsicum annum. Chilli powder  is one of the most powerful hot spices. The powder is produced by grinding the dried chillies, from either red chilli peppers or cayenne peppers. Of the two types of red chillies, one which has dark red color is less spicy and the other with light red color is more hot and spicy.

It has an aromatically strong odour and its taste is characteristic, strong and spicy. It is free from musty odour and rancidity. It is used as a spice to add piquancy and flavour to dishes. The spiciness in the chilli powder depends on the variety of the chillies used in preparing the powder. The hot flavor of the chilli powder really enhances the recipes. There are hardly any dishes which are served without using red chilli powder.

Uses of Red Chilly powder:

  • It is used to marinade various types of vegetarian and non-vegetarian food items.
  • It is the base for making any hot and spicy food.
  • It is included in different salads, and tomato based sauces.
  • It is a crucial ingredient, responsible to add a lovely and wonderful red color and sharp flavor in any recipe.
  • Dull and bland dishes can be easily enhanced and improved with a little amount of this hot, spicy and colorful ingredient.
  • It is used extensively as a stabilizer in curries and other dishes.
  • They act as detoxifiers and remove waste products from our body.

Despite its fiery “hotness” chillie powder is a very popular spice known for its medicinal and health benefiting properties. Chillies contain notable list of plant derived chemical compounds which have disease preventing and health promoting properties.

Health benefits:

  • The alkaloid compound in them, capsaicin, contain anti-bacterial, anti-carcinogenic, analgesic and anti-diabetic properties.
  • It reduces LDL cholesterol levels in obese individuals.
  • It contains minerals like potassium, manganese, iron, and magnesium.
  • It is an excellent source of Vitamin, A, B, C and E.

So, red chilli powder may be hot and spicy, but it is one of the main ingredients of Indian cuisine. It gives the food its rich and tempting colour. Without this wonderful ingredient, Indian food would be bland and colourless.

3 Basic Indian Spices Without Which Cooking Indian Food Is Incomplete

First thing that attracts you to any dish is its appearance. Next comes the aroma and then the taste. One crowd puller quality of the Indian cuisine is its colourful look. It is the use of different spices in correct proportions that is behind the tempting look of the dish.

Though various different spices are used in different dishes, there are some spices which are the very base of Indian cooking. These are turmeric powder, chilli powder and cumin coriander powder.

Even though cumin seeds and coriander seeds are two different spices they are used together as cumin coriander powder since the aroma and flavour of the two compliment each other splendidly. Cumin adds a richness and depth to just about any dish and coriander gives cool lemony flavour. Both these seeds are ground together to get homogeneous powder that can hardly be omitted from any Indian dish.

A good amount of coriander cumin powder is added in curries to provide a crunchy texture to them. It blends well with stews, soups, smoked meats and gives them an extraordinary taste.

Coriander powder prevents non vegetarian dishes from early spoilage as it contains substances that kill meat-spoiling bacteria and fungi. As it sooths the stomach for both adults and colicky babies when it is added to the food it helps to increase digestion and solves the appetite problems.

Cumin powder is well known for its diuretic, carminative, stimulant, astringent, and antispasmodic properties and so it provides invaluable health benefits. It is very effective in treating dyspepsia, diarrhoea and hoarseness and it also provides relief from flatulence and colic problems. Its use improves digestion and stimulates the appetite.

Turmeric is greatly used in Indian cooking to give the Indian curry special flavour and its famous yellow colour. In fact an Indian dish without turmeric tends to look very insipid. Turmeric has antioxidant properties. It has natural antiseptic and anti bacterial qualities.

Turmeric was also used nearly 3000 years ago in the ancient Vedic culture of India. Today it is being used as an important spice, beauty product and in spiritual ceremonies. Turmeric adds zest to any dish and combined with other spices it adds a wonderful curry flavour.

When used in food it provides a lot of health benefits and healing properties. It acts as a tonic, blood purifier and an antiseptic.

The red chilli powder, produced by grinding dried chillies, is another important ingredient of Indian cuisine. It adds colour, spiciness and flavour to the dishes. Its odour is aromatically strong and the taste is distinctive, strong and spicy.

It is widely used as a stabilizer in curries and other dishes. It contains anti-bacterial, anti-carcinogenic, analgesic and anti-diabetic properties. It is also known to reduce LDL cholesterol levels in obese individuals. Good amount of minerals like potassium, manganese, iron, and magnesium and Vitamin, A, B, C and E are found in chillies.

Thus, to conclude Indian cooking is just incomplete without cumin, coriander, turmeric and chilli powder. Just use quality Indian spices to make your Indian food preparation extraordinarily tasty.

Why Is Asafoetida (Hing) Used in Indian Recipes?

When you think of Indian food, you also think of the spices used in it. No Indian recipe is complete without these wonder ingredients ‘spices’. Indian food items have become popular the world over. The ingredients are used in such combinations that they not only enhance and compliment the flavor and food value of each other, they also compensate the side effects of each other.

Spices add aroma, flavour and taste to the food, they make the food special and today even the foreign nationals are crazy about Indian food. It is difficult to imagine Indian food being cooked without the basic spices.

As there is abundance in availability of spices in India, Indian food is never bland. Indian cuisine involves the use of numerous herbs and spices, like garlic, coriander, ginger, asafoetida and fenugreek, turmeric as well as cumin, black mustard and chilli powder. Asafoetida is an important ingredient of Indian food. It has yellow colour and pungent smell and is widely used as a flavoring agent in numerous spice mixtures.  In ancient times it was a precious and expensive condiment.

It is the root of a perennial plant that grows to about six feet in height in Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan. A gum is excreted from the root when it is sliced,  this is dried into a resin,  and then crushed into a powder to produce the spice. It is also known as ‘Devil’s dung’ or ‘Stinking gum’ because of its strong offensive smell. During cooking, when it is sautéed lightly in oil, it develops a pleasant onion or garlic like aroma. A pinch of asafoetida is enough for a recipe.

Asafoetida is used in Indian recipes for its numerous health benefits and flavour. It acts as a nerve stimulant, sedative and digestive agent for the human body. It is known to make the blood thin and lower the blood pressure. It acts as a magic pill to cure different respiratory disorders, hysteria attacks, and a number of nervous disorders.

Its medicinal value is well known. It is extremely good for digestive problems such as gas, bloating, indigestion and constipation. It is helpful for respiratory problems such as bronchitis, asthma and whooping cough. The herb’s volatile oil contains components such as disulphide which leave the body via the respiratory system, this helps to cough up the congested mucus.

Certain food items like urad dal, cauliflower etc. produce ‘stomach gas’, to deactivate this component, asafoetida is used during cooking. A pinch of ‘hing’ is used in the dosa batter to remove the bad effects and retain the benefits of the nutritious value of urad dal. The strong smell of Asafoetida  kills  the  bacteria and other germs in the blood stream.

Asafoetida  is not only used in daily food items but it is also used to flavour and preserve  pickles and sauces, it is one of the ingredients in Worcestershire sauce, and it is extensively used  to flavour spicy vegetable dishes. It increases the body temperature and loosens the mucus from the lungs to give you relief from a running nose.

So, add asafoetida to your daily recipes and enjoy a good health.