Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Black Mustard Seeds

English Name: Black Mustard Seeds

Common Indian Name (Hindi): Rai

  • Mustard is a member of the Brassica family of plants which bears tiny round edible seeds as well as tasty leaves.
  • Mustard is one of the most ancient spices. It has 3 varieties namely black, brown and white. All mustard seeds are used as a spice in the food. The three most popular varieties of mustard plants for culinary use are:

1. The Black Mustard (Brassica nigra) plant normally grows to a height of 10 feet. This is very popular in the Middle East and Asia Minor where they originated.

2. The Brown Mustard ( Brassica juncea) is largely cultivated. Brown mustard plant produces tiny yellow colored flowers, which almost cover the plant. The brown originated in the Himalayans and has virtually replaced the black in American and British kitchens, particularly North American Chinese restaurants.

3. White Mustard (Sinapis alba), originated in the Mediterranean area, bears the light tan seeds which end up as the bright yellow (with the help of a little dye) mustard we apply generously to our hot dogs. White mustard is the most mild among all the varieties of mustard.

  • Mustard is used in Indian, French, German and Irish cuisines. Mustard is used in salad dressings, egg dishes, cheese dishes, pickles and vegetables. Mustard is rubbed over meat before roasting. It is also added to butter to give butter a pleasant flavor.
  • Dijon mustard is made from the husked black seeds blended with wine, salt and spices. It is pale yellow and varies from mild to very hot. This is the mustard generally used in classic French mustard sauces, salad dressings and mayonnaise.
  • Over the years mustard has been prescribed for scorpion stings and snake bites, epilepsy, toothache, bruises, stiff neck, rheumatism, colic and respiratory troubles.
  • In India, whole seeds are fried in ghee/oil until the seeds pop, producing a milder nutty flavor that is useful as a garnish or seasoning for Indian dishes.

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