What’s in a name? Plenty, when it comes to asafoetida or “devil’s dung”. The evil-smelling spice is a stink bomb that unquestionably lives up to its moniker. Inhalation at five paces can make someone with a blocked nose stagger back. It has to be stored away from other spices to prevent it overwhelming them. Just a smidgen can cure indigestion. Yet it is a staple in Indian cuisine, adding a certain subtle aroma, pungency and flavour. For the Jain community, whose religion forbids the use of onion and garlic, “hing”, as it is called in India, is a lifesaver for the flavour it adds. Hing is India’s answer to Japan’s umami.
Yet, until now, no one in India has grown the spice.
So, now some has been planted and Huzzah.
Although spice nationalism does sound like a pretty silly thing to be worrying about. Rather ignores the whole benefit of that trade thing….
Previously Indian cooks benefited from the labour of Afghans. Now they won’t. This is an advance how?