Asafetida (hing)


Asafetida (Hing) is very essential ingredient in Indian vegetarian cooking. Hing has very strong and unique smell and flavor. If this is used too much smell can be unpleasant. It is used in Ayurvedic medicine and good for digestive system.

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38 thoughts on “Asafetida (hing)

  1. Hi, i need some help regarding excess usage of hing actually what happened you know i was preparing Dal and unfortunately while seasoning extra hing fell in the dal so can we remove the excess taste of the hing from the dal.

  2. I asked for hing at an Indian shop here in Maryland. I bought the one that they suggested, got it home, opened it and it is a brick. I don’t see any way to get 1/8 tsp. off of it—I would need a hammer and chisel! Is there any use for this brick, or did I just throw away $4.99?

        1. my goodness. i dont usually agree with people anyway. but for me hing is FABULOUS! YES IF you for some reason feel you have added too much. Squeeze lemon in to your dish. and yes it IS A SUBSTITUTE FOR GARLIC in my opinion. experiment for gods sake. it is made by God/Nature. what the hell are you afraid of?

  3. I have Celiac’s disease, which means I can not eat wheat/gluten. Where can I buy pure hing on the internet, not the stuff that is cut with wheat flour? I am desperate, please help!

  4. Hi Manjula,

    Thanks for your wonderful vegetarian website!! Though as a Buddhist vegetarian there are certain vegetables/spices that I cannot use, hing for example is one (the others are garlic, onion, shallot, leek and chives). Yet when I read the introduction, you’ve also mentioned it is one of the essential spices in Indian vegetarian cooking. I wonder if you could suggest other subsitutes for this particular spice? Many thanks 🙂

    1. Are you sure that you have your information correct?
      From what I have read, hing is used by Jainists as a substitute for all the other items that you have mentioned.

      And Tracey, hing is to be kept in airtight container away from other spices. As foul-smelling as it may be, the taste mellows out when it is cooked.

      1. Hi Kevin,

        I am a Buddhist, not a Jainist.

        Jainism and Buddhism have very different practices and doctrines, despite they may seem to share minor similarities for people who are not familiar with Buddhism. In Buddhism we follow Buddha’s teachings and words (recorded into the so-called Buddhist scripts or sutras), which have pointed out several vegetables we should avoid, and asafoetida is definitely the one of the listed vegetable. If you are interested, please refer to Shurangama Sutra, Lankavatar Sutra and Brahmajala Sutra. Hence I would not apply the practice of Jainism in my diet, especially for a Mahayana Buddhist.

        1. Carolyn. Kevin is quite right. Hing is from a tree, it is not related to onions or garlic. The Buddha never taught not to eat onions or garlic either. That came later, when monastic rules were formed, perhaps a few hundred years later. The reason is that The five vegetables garlic, Allium chinense, asafoetida, shallot and mountain leek, are abstained from by some Buddhists because they excite the senses. Eaten raw they are claimed to cause distemper, and cooked are claimed to be aphrodisiacs. In each case this disturbs a peaceful mind. I know this convo is old but I don’t want other people to read wrong information about Buddhism.

    1. Hi Daniel, you don’t mention where about in cape town you live, but you should be able to get it at any spice shop. There is spice mecca in kenilworth centre, Datar in Rylands, The curry pot in lansdowne road, claremont and Fargo’s on the border of woodstock observatory. Hope this helps.

    2. Hi Daniel,

      Did you manage to get hold of some Asafetida in Cape Town? I am curious to know where if you did.

      Looking forward to hearing from you

  5. I bought this Hing and other spices at a local Indian store. When I got home I sat the bag on the counter and went upstairs. An hour later I came downstairs to this foul odor in my house. I couldn’t figure what it was. That hing Unopened still in plastic bag is now in my garage. I can’t believe how strong it smells. I can’t even imagine eating it. That smell will be coming out my pores & my house will smell forever with it. Now I know why the apartment complexs in Parsippany nj smell. It’s that hing.

  6. Greetings, Chef Jain. I believe we live in the same County.
    I shop occasionally at North Park Produce in Chula Vista. The hing powder sold here
    has been on the shelf too long and has lost it’s potency. Can you suggest a market that
    receives a current stock of hing powder? I notice that you use the Ramdev brand. Is is
    available in the States? Thank you very much and best wishes.

      1. Shop Indian grocery stores that have a lot of customers so hopefully there’s more turnover and restocking of merchandise. Good quality hing should last for several years in an airtight container. Make sure you get pure hing and not the kind that is mixed with other ingredients. Pure hing will come in smaller containers because it is much more potent.

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