A flavoring obtained from a giant fennellike plant that grows mainly in Iran and India. It's used in many Indian dishes and can be found in powdered or lump form in Indian markets. Asafetida has a fetid, garlicky smell and should be used in very small quantities.
From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.