Mustard seeds come from a variety of different brassica species. The characteristic pungent flavour is from chemicals in the plant called glucosinolates that the plants produce to deter herbivory. These are broken down by enzymes to make mustard oil that is the shared flavour of plants in that family. Black mustard (Brassica nigra) has dark coloured seeds used as a spice in South East Asian dishes. They are popped in hot oil or ghee at the beginning of the recipe to impart a nutty flavour to the food. Black mustard is not as easy to harvest mechanically as other mustards are, so it is often still grown by smallholders. Brown Indian mustard (Brassica juncea) seeds are used to make the English condiment Coleman’s Mustard as well as Dijon Mustard. Other varieties of this species are used as a leaf vegetable or as an oilseed. White mustard (Sinapsis alba) has the mildest flavour.
Why not try making your own mustard condiment using our recipe below?