Oriental Mustard Seeds, Brassica juncea, is the hottest of the mustard seeds that we carry. The leaves, seeds, and stems of this mustard variety are edible. Sometimes referred to as Chinese Hot Mustard or Oriental Hot Mustard. While all mustard seeds are closely related, Hot Oriental Mustard Seeds and Brown Mustard Seeds are both from the species Brassica juncea (and are a hybrid of Brassica nigra and Brassica campestris). Oriental Mustard seeds (even though they are a yellow color) are technically a variety of brown mustard.
Oriental Mustard Seeds are called chieh gai (Mandarin), moutarde de Chine (French), indischer sonf (German), rai (Hindi) and mostazo India (Spanish).
Mustard is one of the world’s oldest condiments, dating back to early Roman cooks, who combined ground mustard seeds with an unfermented grape juice called must to make the hot paste mustum ardens, or "burning must." This was shortened to merely "mustard" when the condiment arrived in the English speaking world, but not that much has really changed with mustard over time.
There are four versions of mustard seeds which can be grouped in pairs -- yellow and white in one and black and brown in the other.
The origination of mustard seeds can be traced to various regions of Asia and Europe, with the brown and Oriental mustard seeds being native to northern India, China, Iran, Afghanistan and Africa. Black mustard seeds are from the Middle East and the white or yellow variety originated in the eastern Mediterranean region. Mustard seeds date back almost 5,000 years and are mentioned in ancient Sanskrit writings.
Related to cabbage, broccoli and Brussels sprouts, mustard seeds are from the mustard plant. There are more than 40 varieties of mustard plants, but the culinary seeds come from primarily three plants - black mustard, brown mustard and white mustard. The difference between them is more one of potency than of flavor. When ground, mustard seeds release a pungent smell and roasting them gives them an earthier aroma. Black seeds have a strong flavor, brown seeds are a bit bitter, then turning hot and aromatic and yellow (also called white) seeds are at first a bit sweet.
The potent brown and black seeds are more popular in Indian cuisine, and especially in curries where they lend a more subtle heat than chiles or peppercorns.
One of the most popular and underappreciated spices in the world, mustard seeds grow best in temperate climates and the largest producers are currently Canada, Great Britain, Hungary, India and the US.
Mustard is an annual herb with seedlings that emerge rapidly, but then mature slowly. With ideal moisture and temperature conditions, mustard plants cover the ground in 4 to 5 weeks. Under drier conditions, the tap roots will grow 5’ into the soil to efficiently locate stored soil moisture. At maturity, plant height reaches 30" to 45" depending on type, variety, and environmental conditions. Brown mustard typically matures in 90 to 95 days, while white mustard takes 80 to 85 days. Mustard is harvested by cutting the stems when the seeds are fully developed but not quite ripe, to avoid the pods busting open and releasing their contents.
Our Oriental Mustard Seeds are harvested in the upper Midwest region of the US.
Sharing the same chemical characteristics of the more popular brown mustard, while the characteristics are the same the oil content is higher in the oriental mustard seed (at about 2.9%).
Mustard's pungency comes from isothiocyanate (pronounced iso·thio·cy·a·nate) compounds found in the mustard tissue as glycosides. The primary compound of Oriental mustard is allyl isothiocyanate. The release of the sensation is delayed and starts at the back of the mouth, with a sudden sensation felt in the sinuses.
The plant appears in some form in African, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Italian, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and African-American (soul food) cuisine.
Oriental mustard seeds are often used to flavor vinegars and are a common ingredient in pickling and preserving spices. Use these seeds whenever a little extra heat is desired.
Often used in Chinese cooking it’s also found in the mustard at your local Chinese restaurant, English hot mustard and in some Dijon and German mustards as well. You'll also find it used to flavor vinegars and in pickling spices.
To make your own hot mustard in a normal thickness, use 8 parts powder to 7 parts liquid. Mustard is very hot when it is first blended. If you prefer a milder mustard, store at room temperature for about 6-8 weeks, 5-6 weeks for a medium heat mustard and 3-4 weeks for hot. Once you have reached your desired heat level place in the refrigerator as refrigeration halts the mellowing process almost immediately.
You can also use it as a substitute in any recipe that calls for mustard powder when you want some serious kick added and it works well in combination with other warm spices such as black pepper, white pepper and chiles.
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