Perungaya Podi, or asafoetida, is an important ingredient that every respectable tam-bram would choose to take with them in lieu of the desert island discs.
Asafoetida is the dried gum of a root of a plant, and is widely used as a spice / cooking ingredient in Indian (and some Persian) cooking.
The oracle of truth herself, Wikipedia, says:
This spice is used as a digestive aid, in food as a condiment and in pickles. When uncooked its odour is so strong it the aroma will contaminate other spices stored nearby if it is not stored in airtight an container. However, its odour and flavor become much milder and more pleasant upon heating in oil or ghee, acquiring a taste and aroma reminiscent of sautéedonion and garlic.
The reason every respectable card-carrying TB (yes, we are a highly infectious disease – once you catch us, you can’t get rid of us) carries a tub of good old LG Perungaya Podi, is because it helps them abstain from their most important daily pasttime, a pasttime that society does not approve of because it literally “blows” them away in a manner of speaking. That’s right, Asafoetida is an anti-flatulent. This magical ingredient allows the typical Tambram to consume lentils at a quantity and intensity that can be compared to the consumption of Coca Cola by the average American, or beer by the average British teenage girl.
Magically, it also helps you fight the flu, cures asthma, chronic bronchitis, the whooping cough, works as birth control, repel evil voodoo spirits, bait wolves, catfish and pike, arouses your sense of humour, and many other things that I just can’t be arsed to look up.
What I’m trying to say, is that it is the equivalent of Iron Man’s fuel cell.
Mostly, though, it was remarkable for its terrible, aggressive smell—sulfurous blend of manure and overcooked cabbage, all with the nose-wrinkling pungency of a summer dumpster.
I couldn’t have said it better. The stuff smells like s**t, and contaminates almost every object around it. A thousand daughters to the guy who discovered the root, braved the smell, and actually heated the damn thing over a fire to find out that it actually has some use. Once again, I defer to the smiley Joes from Aramco:
When heated, the asafoetida disintegrated in the hot oil and gave off a rich, savory scent, reminiscent of sautéed onions. It bestowed a delicate base flavoring to the dishes I made.
Proof that it has superhero powers. So the next time you get caught pulling one of those classic silent but deadlies, try cooking with some LG Perungaya Podi. I guarantee you that you’ll emerge from the experience with fart that smells better than Saudi Arabian rosewater.
Perfect fuel for the Wandering V’s goal of feeding the 80.64 percent of the world that wasn’t born with a dal recipe in the house.
I love this smelly resin so much, that I sat down and wrote not one, but two haikus in honor of my faithful LG tub:
Bland food can kill young
But thankfully there is hope
Delicious when cooked
smell it raw and suffer
Ok, you got me. The second one isn’t a haiku. But it almost is.