HING or ASAFOETIDA
Hing is a well known Indian spice yet ideally ignored. In its raw form it has a very strong pungent smell which puts off many people even before they have used it. But, when the right amount of it is added to the tadka or masala of an Indian curry or even a drink it happily looses its smell to become so sublime as to be invisible. Since, it doesn't particularly impart any of its indigenous pungent smell or taste to the dish, it is easily forgotten or even ignored while cooking.
I was introduced to hing by my mom when I (paneer lover) complained to her that why paneer curries never tasted like her even when I was using the same recipe as hers and even more cashews. Infact while cooking any other Indian curry also I always felt that all the spices and ingredients that I used in the preparation retained their flavours and never really cared to come together and give the wholesome taste of the dish that I longed for. When I started adding a pinch of hing to the oil while spluttering the whole spices or tempering the paanch phoran or even while stirring the ginger garlic paste to perfection, I discovered the magic of hing. All the spices blended in each other to unleash the taste that I desired in my dish. So for me hing is the FLAVOUR BLENDER. It gives a smooth texture to the flavour of the curries and soups. Since then none of my dal tadkas or any curry go without a dash of hing in it. Yet its overuse may also ruin the taste by making it bitter.
Now coming to some facts about this mystic masala.
Hing is a dried latex extracted from the tap root of a perennial herb called ferula found in Iran and Afghanistan and is cultivated in India.
• Nutritionally it is rich I calcium, fiber, phosphorus, iron, niacin, carotene, and riboflavin.
• Appetite enhancer
• Aides in digestion
• Aides in absorption of the nutrients from dal
• Reduces flatulence
• Relieves bloating
• Helps in respiratory infections
• Controls blood sugar
Besides tadka and curry, it can also be used in chhas and many other cooling drinks also.
Even topically massaging hing infused coconut oil on the tummy relieves gas an bloating.
A rolled ball of hing and jaggery is potent enough to stop hiccups.
This herb also holds Ayurveda importance in the treatment or remedies of many minor ailments.
All these properties of this mystic Indian herb make it a very important ingredient that must be included in a pregnant woman's diet during the 1st trimester especially as well as beyond.
So what are you waiting for, go and add this to your maid’s daily cooking routine!