asa·​fet·​i·​da | \ ˌa-sə-ˈfe-tə-də How to pronounce asafetida (audio) , -ˈfē- How to pronounce asafetida (audio) ; Southern also -ˈfi-tə-dē How to pronounce asafetida (audio) \
variants: or asafoetida

Definition of asafetida

: the dried fetid gum resin of the root of several west Asian plants (genus Ferula) of the carrot family used as a flavoring especially in Indian cooking and formerly used in medicine especially as an antispasmodic and in folk medicine as a general prophylactic against disease

Examples of asafetida in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web This one was burnt orange in color and made with red chiles, black lentils, curry leaves, mustard seeds, and asafetida. Priya Krishna, Bon Appétit, "This Chutney Powder Makes Everything Taste Better," 18 Mar. 2020 This can be a combination of fried asafetida and cumin (in the north), curry leaves and coconut (in the south), or even just boatloads of cream (in Punjab). Saveur, "A Beginner’s Guide to Making Perfect Indian Dal," 27 Oct. 2016 This slightly spicy amalgam of tomatoes, garlic, salt, black mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, turmeric, asafetida, tamarind, sesame oil, and sugar is exactly what my salmon needs. Carey Polis, Bon Appétit, "I Put This Condiment on Everything When I Can’t Be Bothered to Make a Sauce," 11 Oct. 2019 Stir in the asafetida (if using) and then add the chiles. CBS News, "The Dish: Chef Priya Krishna reveals her signature recipes," 15 June 2019 Chaat masala is an otherworldly spice mixture in Indian cuisine often consisting of amchoor (dry mango powder), cumin, coriander, black salt (also known as kala namak), asafetida (sort of like Indian MSG), and chili powder. Priya Krishna, Bon Appetit, "The Indian Spice Mix I Put on Almond Butter Toast, and Everything Else Honestly," 7 May 2018 Add curry leaves, chiles, and asafetida (if using) and cook, stirring occasionally, until curry leaves are slightly darkened, about 45 seconds. Bon Appetit, "Chickpea Sundal," 19 June 2017 Add curry leaves, chiles, and asafetida (if using) and cook, stirring occasionally, until curry leaves are slightly darkened, about 45 seconds. Bon Appetit, "Chickpea Sundal," 19 June 2017 Chaat Masala Another blend, with cumin, coriander, dried ginger, black salt, pepper, amchoor (dried mango powder), asafetida, and more. Kurt Soller, Bon Appetit, "7 Mouthwatering Indian Grilling Recipes," 1 June 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'asafetida.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of asafetida

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for asafetida

Middle English asafetida, from Medieval Latin asafoetida, from Persian azā mastic + Latin foetida, feminine of foetidus fetid

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The first known use of asafetida was in the 14th century

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Cite this Entry

“Asafetida.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Feb. 2021.

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variants: or asafoetida \ ˌas-​ə-​ˈfit-​əd-​ē How to pronounce asafetida (audio) , -​ˈfet-​əd-​ə How to pronounce asafetida (audio) \

Medical Definition of asafetida

: the fetid gum resin of the root of an Asian plant (Ferula assa-foetida) of the carrot family (Umbelliferae) that is used as an herbal remedy (as in the treatment of asthma, whooping cough, and flatulence)

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