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Mystery Spice

mollygirl Jul 28, 2009 11:26 AM

Someone posted recently about a spice (I think Indian) that's used to replicate the taste of garlic and onion. Does anyone know what that is? thanks

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  1. n
    nemo Jul 28, 2009 11:53 AM


    2 Replies
    1. re: nemo
      mattrapp Jul 28, 2009 11:56 AM

      That would be it, or the other name for it is Hing.

      1. re: mattrapp
        SaltyRaisins Jul 30, 2009 04:29 PM

        "teufelsdreck" in German- meaning devil's puke...mmm.

    2. m
      mollygirl Jul 28, 2009 12:31 PM

      thank you!!
      Is it hard to find? There are a lot of Indian markets in my area, they would have it, wouldn't they?

      1 Reply
      1. re: mollygirl
        anakalia Jul 28, 2009 02:06 PM

        No, it's not difficult to find - just about any Indian store would have it. Just look in the spice aisles... The most popular brand comes in a small , bright yellow plastic jar.

      2. greygarious Jul 28, 2009 07:42 PM

        Caveat emptor: the "foetid" part of the name refers to "fetid". Like fish sauce, it's one of those things with a smell that some find objectionable, though that doesn't translate to the taste in the cooked dish.

        7 Replies
        1. re: greygarious
          Harters Jul 29, 2009 06:46 AM

          I agree - and probably why most recipes you come across say only a "pinch" or that it's "optional".

          1. re: Harters
            zamorski Jul 29, 2009 06:18 PM

            I like asafoetida a lot (used sparingly), but I would not consider it a substitute for garlic or onions---anyone else with me here? The flavour is really quite different. I think the idea of using it as a substitute has more to do with Ayurveda than it does with taste.

            1. re: zamorski
              mollygirl Jul 29, 2009 06:48 PM

              I had to look up Ayurveda :-)

              1. re: zamorski
                Harters Jul 30, 2009 01:55 AM

                You may be right. We have a local restaurant which bases its cooking on Ayurveda principles and does seem to to use it significantly. I'd never connected the two.

                1. re: zamorski
                  jumpingmonk Jul 30, 2009 06:05 AM

                  Acttually, from what I heard it also has a lot to do with religous beleifs. Devout Hindus of the Brahmin caste are forbidden to eat onions, garlic or any of the other alliums (Certain Buddist sects have the same prohibition, the "Doctorine of the Five Angry Vegetables") Asfoetida as I understand has a sufficently garlicy taste to sub for garlic without breaking the rules (asfoetida actually comes from a plant in the carrot family)

                  1. re: zamorski
                    alkapal Jul 31, 2009 07:34 AM

                    yeah, i thought that "flavor' comparison was a little strange when i read it....

                2. re: greygarious
                  mollygirl Jul 29, 2009 06:43 PM

                  You make the analogy to fish sauce, I understand that distinction.

                3. greygarious Jul 29, 2009 07:15 PM

                  Apparently you DO mean hing/asefoetida but might as well mention that there is also the spice blend "vadouvan" which includes garlic and onion. Apparently it is hard to come by commercially but there are recipes such as this: http://www.gourmet.com/recipes/2000s/...

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: greygarious
                    MiriamOttawa Jul 30, 2009 04:00 PM

                    I saw some for sale on amazon.com and it had no explanation and I just looked at it and thought "wtf" not knowing what it was for.

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