Asafoetida is one of the most common ingredients used in famous cuisines, like Indian and Mexican.
This spice offers a distinctive flavor and mimics the taste of onion, garlic, and even meat at times! However, this special spice isn’t found very easily which is why you should look for substitutes.
All of this simply sounds extremely confusing which is why we’ve created this extensive guide to help you find the best asafoetida substitute.
Best Asafoetida Substitutes
Asafoetida has a very pungent and strong flavor, so it can have a big impact on your dish. However, you also need to opt for substitutes having a prominent flavor so they can make your dish extra flavorful.
1. Garlic powder
One of the most commonly available substitutes for asafoetida include garlic powder. As mentioned earlier, asafoetida works by mimicking the flavors of both garlic and onion. Hence, garlic powder can help in most dishes.
We recommend garlic powder as a substitute in dishes where asafoetida isn’t the main or the most important ingredient. It is because garlic powder has a less strong flavor and cannot dominate a whole dish.
For instance, you can use this powder in sauces, curries, and other similar dishes. The best ratio is around ½ teaspoon garlic powder for ¼ teaspoon for asafoetida.
2. Onion powder
If you’re not a big fan of garlic and don’t like its pungent taste, you can use onion powder. Just like garlic powder, onion powder can offer subtle flavors of asafoetida without altering the entire flavor.
Moreover, onion powder usually has a slight amount of garlic in it, which just makes it a perfect substitute for asafoetida. Again, keep in mind that you should opt for onion powder only if the recipe isn’t heavily dependent on asafoetida.
You can use around ½ teaspoon onion powder for ¼ teaspoon garlic powder. If you don’t mind a prominent onion taste, you can add slightly more.
3. Garlic and onion powder
You can use both garlic powder and onion powder individually. But we highly recommend using a combination of both to achieve the best results.
Asafoetida spice is such that it combines the sweet flavor of onion with the pungent flavor of garlic. So, you can also achieve the same level of distinctive taste by opting for garlic and onion powder.
Moreover, it can even match the intensity of asafoetida, unlike individual garlic powder or onion powder. When you are using garlic and onion powder, substitute ½ teaspoon of it with ¼ teaspoon of asafoetida.
4. Leeks and garlic
These ingredients are very convenient and suitable asafoetida substitutes. Leeks belong to the same family as onions. Yet, they have a milder taste to complement the dishes.
On the other hand, garlic has a sharper flavor. The combination of both mild and sharp works in place of asafoetida. But how do you use both of them together instead of asafoetida? Well, it is extremely simple!
All you need to do is take an equal amount of leeks and garlic. Then, saute them in either vegetable oil or clarified butter. You can then add it to your dish to replace asafoetida.
However, keep in mind that leeks are stringy in nature. So, they’ll add some amount of mass to your dish. This isn’t necessarily bad but in light and smooth dishes, they may alter the texture.
Did you know that shallots can also offer a similar flavor to that of asafoetida? Shallots are somewhat similar to onions but they have a much milder flavor.
So, if you can only find shallots around you, just go for it!
You have to use shallots just the way you use leeks and garlic. Simply cut a shallot and saute it in clarified butter or vegetable oil. This will help in releasing all the flavors of shallot and providing a taste similar to asafoetida. Finally, add them to the dish.
When it comes to the proportion, it depends on the type of recipe and your requirements as well.
Chives is yet another type of vegetable belonging to the same family as onions. Hence, it has a similar flavor to that of onion but, it is on the milder side.
Another amazing thing about chives is that you can also get garlic chives which have the flavor of both garlic and mild onion. So, just like asafoetida, it can also add the required taste to your dishes.
Also, chives ensure that the volume and texture of the dish remain the same. Due to this reason, there’s not much harm in using them.
7. Onion paste
Onion paste isn’t just an excellent asafoetida substitute but it’s also useful for various other cooking purposes.
Once asafoetida is cooked, its taste heavily resembles onions. So, naturally, onion paste can replace asafoetida and offer your dish a similar flavor.
Now, how to prepare onion paste? All you need to do is blend onions in a food processor or blender to get a fine mixture. If you want, you can also throw in 3-4 garlic cloves to get the perfect asafoetida substitute.
Make sure that you don’t go for caramelized onion paste as it’s not strong enough to substitute asafoetida. Finally, just add around ½ to one teaspoon of onion paste instead of asafoetida and your dish is ready!
8. Minced shallots and minced garlic
If you can use garlic and onion, then you can also use shallots and minced garlic. Shallots have a very similar taste to onions. They’re also milder and sweeter than onions and make for a good asafoetida substitute.
Mix shallots with garlic and this combination can easily replace asafoetida in any recipe! You can use shallots and garlic by mincing them in equal proportions. Then, add the minced items into a pan and saute them in clarified butter or oil.
Finally, you can add the mixture to your dish as per your requirements.
9. Garlic flakes
If you don’t want to put in any effort, using garlic flakes is one of the easiest substitutes for asafoetida! They are basically a dehydrated and dried type of garlic.
They provide a similar flavor to garlic. However, they’re somewhat less pungent. Hence, you can use them instead of asafoetida easily. Another advantage of garlic flakes over other substitutes is their easy application.
All you need to do is simply sprinkle around one teaspoon of garlic flakes for ¼ teaspoons of asafoetida. This will offer a similar flavor profile to your dish.
10. Minced onion and minced garlic
Don’t worry if you don’t have powders or pastes as fresh onion and garlic can substitute asafoetida too! Just like leeks and garlic, here too, you need to saute both minced onion and garlic together with vegetable oil or clarified butter.
Then, add around ½ teaspoon of this mixture to your dish to substitute asafoetida easily.
11. Sauteed garlic
Lastly, if you just have plain old garlic at home, use it in place of asafoetida. Fresh garlic works as well because asafoetida has a prominent garlic flavor.
You can use two garlic cloves by sauteing in clarified butter or vegetable oil. Then, add the sauteed mixture to the dish in place of ½ teaspoon of asafoetida. Sounds easy, right?
What does Asafoetida taste like?
Asafoetida doesn’t have a very nice taste when it’s not mixed in dishes. It is because it tastes like concentrated rotten garlic and/or onion.
Moreover, when uncooked, the taste is slightly heavy, bitter, and acidic. However, once you fry it briefly in oil, the taste becomes mellow and onion-like!
Is Asafoetida a good substitute for garlic?
Yes, it is one of the best alternatives for garlic as it even tastes and smells slightly like garlic. Moreover, many Indians have used asafoetida in place of garlic for ages now.
Is Asafoetida same as Fenugreek?
No, Asafoetida is a gum resin having a bitter taste and a strong smell whereas fenugreek seeds are leguminous herbs with yellowish-brown in color.
The main difference that can instantly help you to decide between the two is that fenugreek has a bitter taste but does not have a very pungent smell.
On the other hand, asafoetida has a very strong stinky smell and it tastes like garlic and onions.
Why is Asafoetida used in cooking?
Asafoetida gives a rich flavor to your dish. Its flavor is somehow similar to an onion, garlic, and even meat.
As you can see, most of the substitutes mentioned in this article are related to onion and garlic. Hence, as per the availability and your taste preferences, you can use any and make your meals extremely flavorful.