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Asafoetida (Ferula Asafoetida)

A spice, made from dried gum resin of the rhizome or taproots of giant fennel. It's a necessary flavouring in many parts of western and southern India - but always used in minute quantities. It smells unpleasant until cooked (because of the sulphur compounds in the resin), when it has a oniony/leeky flavour. It's rumoured to be one of the secret ingredients of Worcestershire sauce.

Sap is collected by cutting the stalk off at the root; the sap then solidifies and can be ground into a powder. This is the form we generally find it in in Britain.

 

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