If you haven’t explored what mustard seeds have to offer, it’s a culinary journey worth taking. Raw mustard seeds have a bitter taste, but when treated with heat, mustard’s character changes completely. What was an awful, one-dimensional bitterness becomes a pleasant pungency that uplifts pickles, stir fries, curries, and all varieties of roasted meat and vegetables. To release their full potential, mustard seeds should be fried and popped in hot oil. From appetizer to main course to condiment, mustard seeds are one of the most versatile spices you can have in your pantry.
While there are approximately forty different varieties of mustard plants, there are three principal types used to make mustard seeds: black mustard, white mustard and brown mustard. Black mustard seeds have the most pungent taste, while white mustard seeds, which are actually yellow in colour, are the mildest. Yellow mustard seeds are mostly used for the preparation of mustard pastes, for which purpose they are superior to black mustard.
You can easily make your own mustard condiment by first macerating the seeds in wine, vinegar or water. Grind them into a smooth paste, adding herbs and spices such as tarragon, turmeric, garlic, pepper, paprika or any others that you prefer to give your homemade mustard its own unique taste. Frequently sugar or honey, fresh herbs and dried spices are added to ground mustard to modify the taste; sometimes turmeric is added to give a bright yellow colour.