Heeng is also called Asafoetida. It is mainly cultivated in Iran and Afghanistan. In India, it is grown in Kashmir and some parts of Punjab. It is a latex gum extracted from several species of a perennial herb called ferula. It consists of resins, gum, volatile oil and ash.
Asafoetida can be categorized into two types which are white asafoetida and black asafoetida. White asafoetida has a strong smell and is in a crystalline form. It is also known as diamond like asafetida, and has more medicinal value. The blackish one is used in cooking and has uncommon taste. Recently several different varieties of asafetida are available in the market. For eliminating the impurities of asafetida, it must be dissolved in water and boiled in an iron pan till all the water is vanished.
It is commonly used in Indian cuisine and its strong flavor sometimes does not favor many. Only minute quantity is enough to give required flavor in making different recipes such as different dals, baked kand, Dhokla, Gujrati kadhi, upmas, rasams, rava-dosa and many more food items.
The main health benefits of heeng are as given below: