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I am in the process of conforming to the laws of Kashrut, and am still adjusting to the change in lifestyle, as I was not raised in a kosher home. Having rather respectable abilities in preparing vegetarian Indian cuisine, I agreed to prepare a Kosher Indian Dinner for my Chabad House next month. The one sticking point I have is that I have been unable to source asafoetida (hing) with a hechsher. This is the one ingredient I truly find indispensable, and am bumming in a big way, as I can't seem to find it anywhere. Can anyone help a brother out? Thanks so much.

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  1. try looking through these two links


    as well, call the spice house in milwakee and see if they can help

    1 Reply
    1. I'd like to know as well. If you mention your location, you'll get more useful responses. Have you checked health food stores? There was one where I used to live that carried it. I think it was under KSA, but I am not sure.

      1 Reply
      1. re: CloggieGirl

        Thanks to you all. I am familiar with Spice House, and have ordered several curry powders from them for my event. They are a pleasure to deal with, and their prices are reasonable in light of the certification. Cloggie, I am on Long Island. I never thought to look in a health food store, but that is an excellent lead. I am grateful.

      2. I recall this coming up on this board before, and I think the upshot was that The Spice House did NOT carry it. Sorry. Or maybe that has changed. Please report back if you find it.

          1. re: queenscook

            QueensC, I have already attempted to contact them as their kosher certification was expired. I asked for the updated one, and they never responded. :( Thanks for your efforts though, as it is greatly appreciated.

            1. re: Captain_Stinky

              I went to Spice house and found updated kosher certificate good until mid-2012. They are also still listing asafoetida as available on their main website.

              kosher-cert-2011-12 (application/pdf Object)

              1. re: lburrell

                Yes, but the last time this was discussed, the asafoetida was not available from their Milwaukee store (their kosher site). Maybe that has changed, but you'd have to put in an order and double-check that it was coming from the Milwaukee location.

          2. it probably doesnt need a hechsher.no one sane says whole spices need a hechsher, except on pesach when sanity goes out the window.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Moishefrompardes

              Unfortunately Moishe, its compounded with rice and wheat flours, gum arabic, and turmeric, so I can't avail myself of that argument, but thanks nonetheless.

            2. I've looked for it in the past as well. I always end up using extra garlic instead. I haven't explored outside the US yet, but I would be curious if it is available for import from India, Israel, the UK, or South Africa where the Jewish communities are more familiar with Indian cooking. I have also checked with Sadaf and Golchin to see if they carry it because it is sometimes used in Persian cooking as well. While they have a variety of other spices commonly used in Indian cooking they do not have asafeotida. Perhaps there is a smaller importer of kosher Persian spices that might carry it - KSA or Kehilla Kosher in LA would be most likely to certify. If you are successful, please keep us posted!

              1. You might try calling kosher Indian restaurants. There is one each in Houston and Austin Texas that I know of. If they don't understand your question, try e-mailing the Houston Kashrut Association and asking them for the brand name of the spice.

                I think there is an Indian kosher restaurant in Manhattan as well, though since you are also in NY they might be less willing to share info.

                5 Replies
                1. re: SoCal Mother

                  Shalom Bombay in Manhatten is owned by Indians (as opposed to Jews) .

                  1. re: vallevin

                    Why would that matter vis a vis this issue?

                    1. re: queenscook

                      I don't feel right asking local caterers or restaurants for recipes or ingredients but when I am a tourist or asking long distance it seems more ethical somehow since I am not taking away from their business.

                      As far as being Indian and kashrut is concerned, I had some difficulty at the Indian place in Houston when I needed to ask them a question and they simply didn't understand what I wanted to know. I was able to clarify by contacting the Houston Kashrut Association.

                      OP is making an Indian dinner in New York, so I am suggesting that he ask a kosher Indian restaurant (or the organization that gives their hasgacha) someplace other than New York for advice.

                      1. re: queenscook

                        I figured an Indian owned place might intuit the OP's question better, in that they probably would know about the spice first-hand and be able to either A) Source it for the OP or B) give a reasonable substitute.

                        1. re: vallevin

                          Oh, OK. It actually sounded like the opposite; to wit, that for some reason because they were Indians, they would NOT share the info. I didn't think that would necessarily be the case, so I was stumped as to why it was being pointed out.

                  2. If you are in NYC, it might be worth looking at kaluystans, they have a great selection of exotic stuff, much of which is kosher...

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: PotatoPuff

                      I second that emotion. I have been in love with Kalustyans for many many years (Where else can one bu Zaatar from 9 different countries:) The owners are incredible, and a great number of their spices are in fact hekshered when they come to the store. The staff never gave me a hard time about asking to see the original boxes or even taking them with me in order to satisfy my inhouse mashgiach. Here is the link to their shop....g'Luck! Worst case scenario, you can make the compound yourself, as my kitchen does with both chinese 5 spice as well as our garam masala.


                      Starwest never posted their renewed Kashrus Certificate, even though I notified them via e-mail that the one posted on their website was out of date, about 8 weeks ago. I called the hechshering agency, and in addition to their website no longer existing, their phone rang without being answered. Out of sheer desperation, I called Starwest, and a most accommodating person in Customer Service e-mailed me the certificate, which I forwarded to my Rabbi for approval before I placed an order. Several phone calls by him to California to Rabbinic friends of his in the LA area, got me the go ahead, and I placed a substantial order from Starwest, including a pound of asafoetida. Now, if I only knew where to find some of the more obscure dals with a hechsher... Thanks to all of you for your assistance and suggestions. I am grateful. Stinky

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: Captain_Stinky

                        Could you please post who is giving the certificate (although if enough of us call them for a copy of the letter maybe they will finally get it on the website). I plan on calling but would first want to check if the certifying agency is one that I can use.

                        I noticed that at Starwest the asafoetida only contains asafoetida & fenugreek unlike the one at The Spice House which contains wheat so is not gluten free. Unfortunately they only sell in 1 pound quantities.

                        If by obscure dals you are simply meaning plain dried beans they do not need certification. Ask your Rabbi for other foods that don't need certification (another one is plain pasta--only water & flour such as rice, tapioca, wheat, etc), there are actually quite a few.

                        1. re: kosherGlutenFree

                          The hechsher is Kosher Certification Service, Rabbi Eli Frankel, Rabbinic Administrator, Rabbi Dr. Michael Schick, Kashruth Consultant. Their address is 401 North Laurel Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90048. Telephone is (323) 782-1433. www.easy-access.com/KCS