Food Corner: Fiery Bengali Mustard

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By Jessie Kaur

For me it’s important to make new variations of condiments, dips, and spreads. Dabbling in this arena has the benefits of controlling sodium levels, avoiding additives, getting a healthy dose of spice (I like my heat), and the surprising ease of doing it yourself.

Food Corner  Fiery Bengali MustardI have always been a fan of mustard and its original form — mustard seed (rai). I use mustard like it’s going out of style, adding it to salad dressings, Panini sandwiches, and chicken wings. My mom has perpetually used mustard seeds in her pickled carrots and roasted potatoes. It only makes sense that I would be interested in delving into making homemade mustard.

Now when it comes to making your own mustard there is a “wow” factor, a double-take and the “you really make mustard?” Everyone will be invariably impressed, even more so when they taste how delicious this bold mustard flavour. While they will think you have worked tirelessly to make this creation, it is really very easy to make.

Mustard requires no cooking (in fact, heating the ingredients ruins the flavour). The biggest step for this South Asian variation is blooming (soaking) the whole mustard seeds with flavourings like ginger, garlic, and chilli in apple cider vinegar overnight. In general, mustards contain some form of vinegar and as such are acidic enough for long-term refrigerator storage. This is where the strong flavours permeate and shine.

When you come back the next day, the mustard seeds will be plumped and soft. Then with the addition of a little bit of extra spices and some sweet to balance out the robust flavourings, the bloomed mustard concoction is puréed in a blender. The result is a hearty, grainy mustard that is the consistency of a custard. The mustard is not quite ready to be chilled, rather it is poured into a jar, topped with a lid, and then left to sit on a cool, dry counter for three days.

6 tablespoons yellow mustard seeds

4 cloves garlic, diced

1 & 1/2 inch slice ginger, peeled and diced

1 cup apple cider vinegar

2 red chilies

3 teaspoons cayenne powder

3 1/2 teaspoons Himalayan sea salt

1/4 teaspoon turmeric

½ teaspoon ground cumin

½ teaspoon ground coriander seed

4 teaspoons sugar

2 teaspoons honey

Directions

Place mustard seeds, garlic, ginger, and chillies in a glass bowl and cover with the vinegar. Let stand for 24 hours at room temperature.

Place vinegar mixture in blender, add cayenne, salt, turmeric, cumin, coriander, honey and sugar and blend until a creamy consistency is reached.

Once blended, place in glass jar and let stand at a cool room temperature for 3 days. Store in the fridge thereafter.