Mustard seed is a pungent spice from the Brassica genus that adds a bracing bite that offsets fatty, sweet and earthy dishes. They come in three colours, white, yellow, brown and black, with increasing pungency in that order. White/yellow mustard is native to Europe and central Asia respectively and is mostly used for preparing mustard paste or condiments in combination with wine and vinegar. Coleman’s mustard, honey mustard and the ubiquitous mustard on hot dogs are all made from the white/yellow type of mustard. Brown mustard is native to sub-Himalayan plains of northern India and is used as a table condiment in Chinese cuisines. Black mustard is used in Indian cooking, especially in southern Indian vegetarian meals, where they are “popped” in hot oil to bring out their nuttiness, sometimes as part of a takra, then added to pickles, chutneys, and dals.
In Ayurveda, black/brown mustard seeds increase pitta, but are balancing for kapha and vata dosha. They are onsidered a digestive and good for alleviating stomach discomfort such as gas or cramps.
Purchase whole mustard seeds, which will keep for more than a year in your spice cupboard. Prepared mustard (with vinegar and/or wine) can last for at least a year in the refrigerator, but will lose its potency over time.« Back to Glossary Index