Asafoetida is said to have originated in Rome, and despite not being a native of India, it has been used in Indian medicine and cookery for ages. It is a resin that is ochre in colour and it is most widely used in its powdered or granulated form, which are usually yellow in colour. The resin like gum is actually grayish white in colour when fresh, but dries to a dark amber colour. The resin is difficult to grate and is traditionally crushed using mortar pestle. In the raw form, the smell can be quite irritating, but once cooked, it changes in nature and imparts a very good aroma to the dishes.