Saturday, June 7, 2008
Mustard ( கடுகு )
Mustard seeds are the proverbially small seeds of the various mustard plants. The seeds are about 1 mm in diameter, and may be colored from yellowish white to black. They are important spices in many regional cuisines. The seeds can come from three different plants: black mustard (B. nigra), brown Indian mustard (B. juncea), and white or yellow mustard (B. hirta/Sinapis alba).
The French have used mustard seeds as a spice since 800 AD, and it was amongst spices taken by the Spanish on explorations throughout the 1400s. Mustard oil can be extracted from the seeds. The seeds, particularly the white ones, can also be ground into flour, and mixed to a thick paste with a little water to make the condiment mustard. The ground mustard powder is usually mixed with ordinary flour to reduce the strength of the resulting condiment.
Other ingredients can be used to mix mustard, for example, sugar, honey, vinegar, wine, or milk. When initially mixed the sauce is mild in flavor, but it develops in time. Strong mustard has a very powerful (and painful) effect on the nasal membranes if eaten carelessly. The whole seeds can be soaked in liquid before grinding to create whole grain mustard.