Interestingly, there are actually over 40 different types of mustard plants but only 3 are reserved for culinary use. At first glance you might think that they are used solely in the cooking process of mustard, however the seeds are often used interchangeably within Indian cuisine and are often kept whole throughout. Read on as we go over the different types…
Derived from the Brassica Alba plant, yellow mustard seeds are considered the mildest option in comparison to the black and brown variety. As the name suggests, they are typically used in order to make mustard which is why they have a small amount of spice and a slightly sweet taste to them. When it comes to Indian cuisine, yellow mustard seeds can be used as a paste in order to flavour curries and marinate meat, or they can be used whole in order to add a burst of tanginess.
On the other hand, black mustard seeds come from the Brassica Nigra plant and have a much more distinctive flavour as it can be hot, spicy and pungent. Although yellow mustard seeds can be found in most shops, black mustard seeds are often seen as a speciality item which can make them particularly difficult to locate. In addition to this, they are hand-picked as part of a labour intensive harvesting process so they often tend to be more expensive.
In many styles of Indian cooking, brown mustard seeds have replaced the role of black mustard seeds because they are milder and easier to obtain. After all, they are less spicy which means that they can be used more liberally in dishes without the risk of overpowering them. Typically, they are added to curries, preserving spices and marinades.
Here at Royal Nawaab, we like to delve deep into the history and uses of the different spices that are used within Indian cooking. After all, our cuisine has a rich history and the vast majority of the flavours have been cultivated over hundreds, if not thousands, of years. This is why some of our dishes are spicier than others – a quality that makes us a family restaurant to rely on! To find out more information, get in contact with a member of the team today.