Asafoetida (Ferula asafoetida), is a dark amber resin which comes from the dried sap from the stem and roots of this wild fennel. The most commonly available form is compounded asafoetida, a fine powder containing 30% asafoetida resin, along with flour and gum arabic. It is mainly grown in Iran, Afghanistan, and Kashmir.
This spice is used as a digestive aid and in pickles. Its odour is so strong that it must be stored in airtight containers; otherwise, it spoils other foodstuffs. It loses its smell in cooking, however, and presents an onion-like taste. In India, it is used especially by the Brahmin caste of the Hindus and by adherents of Jainism, who are not allowed to eat onions.