What is Kayam (കായം) – Kayam (കായം) is the Malayalam name for Asafoetida.
The delicious aromas coming out of the kitchen usually come from a beautiful mix of ghee, jeera, frying onions and heeng or asafoetida for a tadka or tempering.
What is Kayam (കായം)?
Kayam (കായം) or asafoetida is essentially a dried latex ((gum oleoresin) extracted from Kayam (കായം), an plant in the Umbelliferae (Celery family). The resin exudes from the Ferula plants that grow wild in Afghanistan and Iran.
Hing derives its name from its very potent scent – asafoetida in Latin means “fetid gum”. Persians once called it “the food of the gods”.
Asafoetida gives a pungent but comforting onion-garlic flavour, which is especially good in vegetarian dishes, curries and stews. When uncooked or in its raw form it smells like sulfur and tastes bitter.