This spice is used as a digestive aid, in food as a condiment, and in pickle. It typically works as a flavour enhancer and, used along with turmeric, is a standard component of Indian cuisine, particularly in lentil curries, such as dal as well as in numerous vegetable dishes. It is especially widely used in South Indian and Maharashtrian cuisine, which is mainly vegetarian, and is often used to harmonize sweet, sour, salty and spicy components in food. Asafoetida also serves the purpose as a vegetarian alternative to make food taste more full-flavoured and savoury. The spice is added to the food at the time of tempering. Sometimes dried and ground asafoetida (in very mild quantity) can be mixed with salt and eaten with raw salad. In its pure form, its odour is so strong the aroma will contaminate other spices stored nearby if it is not stored in an airtight container: many commercial preparations of asafoetida utilize the resin ground up and mixed with a larger volume of wheat flour: the mixture is sold in sealed plastic containers with a small hole at the bottom, allowing the diluted spice to be dusted lightly over the food being cooked. However, its odour and flavour become much milder and more pleasant upon heating in oil or ghee, acquiring a taste and aroma reminiscent of sautéed onion and garlic. It is used especially by the merchant caste of the Hindus and by adherents of Jainism and Vaishnavism, particularly in Rajasthan, Gujarat, Karnataka and Maharashtra, who do not eat onions or garlic. It is used in many vegetarian and lentil dishes to add both flavour and aroma as well as to reduce flatulence. It is however one of the pungent vegetables generally avoided by Buddhist vegetarians.