Asafoetida (hing) is a sulphurous, onion-smelling spice used in Indian cooking. The sulphur smell dissipates in cooking and just leaves a "onion" like flavor. Particularly useful in vegetarian cooking. Asafoetida comes from the sap of a plant similar to a giant fennel. The sap dries into a hard resin and it is sold in "lump" and ground form. Use in small amounts with dried beans and vegetables. Buy asafoetida in any Indian grocery store or online at Amazon. Asafoetida Powder
The powder is usually used with dried beans and vegetables. In India the powder is used as a substitute for garlic and onions which tend to be more harsh on the digestive system.
If you don't have asafetida powder you can substitute; per 1/4 teaspoon needed:
To say this is a pungent spice is a major understatement. When we used to sell it we had to double box each package in order to keep the odor from permeating into every product in the warehouse. If you are not accustomed to the smell you may want to store it in a very tightly sealed jar or double-package it.