Asafoetida, a resin with a rich history in Indian medicine and cookery, is believed to have originated in Rome despite not being native to India. The resin has an ochre color and is typically used in its powdered or granulated form, which is usually yellow. When fresh, the resin is a grayish-white color but dries to a dark amber color.
Grating the resin can be difficult, so it is traditionally crushed using a mortar and pestle. Although the raw form of asafoetida can have an irritating smell, it changes once cooked and imparts a wonderful aroma to dishes. Despite its origins outside of India, asafoetida has become an integral part of Indian cuisine and is beloved for its unique flavor and health benefits.