Tuesday, September 21, 2004

A Vile Odour

One of my favourite blogs is this one, although I never comment on it. This is because it is almost entirely recipes, and I haven't actually tried any of them, so have nothing to say. I don't think drooling counts as a comment. After reading the recipes carefully (almost every day) I get the urge to eat rather than to comment.

I treat Indian recipe, Indian food recipe, Recipe articles rather like I treat my cookbooks. I read the recipes, dribble over the pictures, then ad lib dinner using whatever happens to be in the kitchen. But one of these days I'm going to try this potato curry.

I wonder if I can get asafoetida in Japan? I had to look it up to find out what it was, and found this fascinating description:

It is a gum that is from the sap of the roots and stem of the ferula species, a giant fennel that exudes a vile odour.


Flavour: on its own, extremely unpleasant, like concentrated rotten garlic.

Apparently the 'vile odour' dissipates when it is cooked. There is some historical background about asafoetida on the same page, all very readable, but the following especially interested me:

Asafoetida is used mostly in Indian vegetarian cooking, in which the strong onion-garlic flavour enhances many dishes, especially those of Brahmin and Jain castes where onions and garlic are prohibited.

I wrote before about how I have to avoid onions and garlic because my body doesn't tolerate them although I love the taste. Indian food is a minefield for me. There is often onion or garlic hidden in it somewhere, and I only find out (and suffer) afterwards. But now I'll be keeping an eye out for a Brahmin or Jain cookbook.

Not that I'll actually cook, you understand. I'll just leave it lying around the kitchen and hope someone takes the hint.