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Dianabanana

Lump Asafoetida

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Hi everyone, I'm fairly new to eGullet and actually have not spent any time on the India board at all, so this is like barging into a party where you don't know any of the other guests, and I apologize if this has all been discussed a million times before, but I'm so excited that I have to tell someone:

I used lump asafoetida for the first time last night and I CANNOT believe the difference! Lump asafoetida must be to powdered asafoetida as parmigiano reggiano is to Kraft parmesan cheese in the green can. There is a wonderful herbal, almost citrus note to it, and that weird asafoetida funk is almost nonexistent. Also, maybe I was just starving anyway, but the odor seems to have a stimulating effect on the appetite. Even my husband, who normally just benignly tolerates my use of powdered asafoetida, was amazed at the pleasant citrusy smell. I feel sorry for myself having used the powdered stuff all these years and I'm never going back!

However: What a PITA. I wasn't sure how to proceed, so I just whacked the resin lump with the back of a ladle until some cracked off, then I ground it up in a suribachi. Is there a better way?

Diane

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If it's a solid lump, just scape bits you need with a knife or use a microplane type grater...

I've also heard of a paste - does anyone have details?

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I haven't seen pastes in the market. In fact, I am striking out while

seeking the lump hing (lucky Dianabana).

I am getting quite fed up of the powdered 'compounded hing'

which is 78% rice powder and god knows how much actual

hing in it. It's pretty weak, and getting progressively weaker.

I find myself adding outrageous amounts to get even a whiff of

hing aroma...

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I haven't seen pastes in the market.  In fact, I am striking out while

seeking the lump hing (lucky Dianabana).

I am getting quite fed up of the powdered 'compounded hing'

which is 78% rice powder and god knows how much actual

hing in it.  It's pretty weak, and getting progressively weaker.

I find myself adding outrageous amounts to get even a whiff of

hing aroma...

Milagai

I buy pur asafoetida powder (brown in color) from my local herborist (health) store. You should probably try health stores. I threw my vandevi hing brand in the garbage when I got this...

Irishcream

Unfortunately there is no substitute - I sure you'd get at least the compounded hing in Indian ethnic stores around you.

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Thanks for the tip Bague.

I'm not in North America at this time, but will try and find

such a shop. Funny thing is that I am in a country with a huge

Asian (=Indian) population, but the many grocery stores only

seem to carry that Vandevi nonsense.....

sigh...

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I too have noticed the tremendous difference between powdered and block form. The nice thing about the block form is that it is odorless until you grind it up. I wouldn't say block form smells any nicer than powdered though; both smell pretty bad until magically transformed in hot oil. I think the easiest way to handle it is to lightly crack the big chunks in my heavy granite mortar and pestle until I get the desired size for the day's cooking, and then grind that into a powder. Failing that I would probably crack of a piece using a heavy object and then grind it in a spice grinder, but if you care enough to go after block hing I think you should have a mortar and pestle anyway. I haven't used a suribachi myself, but the ones I've seen look a little light for real grinding work.

I also recently found out that even the good stuff isn't "pure" asafoetida. The block form we sell at the shop I work at is 1% concentration; 100% would be violently strong.

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Hi everyone, I'm fairly new to eGullet and actually have not spent any time on the India board at all, so this is like barging into a party where you don't know any of the other guests, and I apologize if this has all been discussed a million times before, but I'm so excited that I have to tell someone:

I used lump asafoetida for the first time last night and I CANNOT believe the difference! Lump asafoetida must be to powdered asafoetida as parmigiano reggiano is to Kraft parmesan cheese in the green can. There is a wonderful herbal, almost citrus note to it, and that weird asafoetida funk is almost nonexistent. Also, maybe I was just starving anyway, but the odor seems to have a stimulating effect on the appetite. Even my husband, who normally just benignly tolerates my use of powdered asafoetida, was amazed at the pleasant citrusy smell. I feel sorry for myself having used the powdered stuff all these years and I'm never going back!

However: What a PITA. I wasn't sure how to proceed, so I just whacked the resin lump with the back of a ladle until some cracked off, then I ground it up in a suribachi. Is there a better way?

Diane

You should try fresh tumeric sometime. You can freeze the tubers and the grate it. Its like most things fresh, better and more earthy. Woods

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