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Mustard, the condiment made from powdered mustard seed, vinegar, salt and water, is a late entrant to the Indian food scene. The Romans invented it nearly 2000 years ago, the Gauls and the Anglo-Saxons perfected it, and it is now one of the mainstays of Western cuisine.

Few people love mustard at first tasting: it is piquant, with a bitter after-taste, but it grows on you. Though who like it will eventually put it on everything: bread, burgers, salads, samosas, curry puffs….

Mustard is a relatively bland condiment, but the heat in some varieties can be unnerving, even for Indians who pride themselves on their ability to handle hot chillies and peppers.

More than burning the tongue, the heat feels like a small explosion in the roof of the nose: it comes from the release of isothiocynate compounds.

Hot mustard is the result of processing with cold water, and vice versa. There are as many varieties of mustard as there are nations. The Irish prepare some varieties with whiskey. Fresh mustard contain wine. American mustards are bright yellow because turmeric is an ingredient.

Honey mustards is mix of honey and mustard and is popular in salads with wine vinegar dressing.

Other varieties contain more spices: paprika, garlic, pepper, etc.In the West, mustard is the most popular condiment for meat dishes: hot dogs, barbecues, sausages and the like.

It is a popular salad dressing, dip, topping and marinade.

Mustard deserves to be more popular than it is right now in India. It is a right now in India. It is a condiment with practically no calories (except for the honey varieties), very little salt (50 mg of sodium per tsp) and some turmeric.

It is a lot more healthful than jam, ketchup, chilly sauce and butter. Those who like mustard will try to find as many food uses for it as possible, and that can only be a good thing.

Mustard-based salad dressings will lead you to the world of DASH diet, MUF-rich olive oil, and low-salt cuisine.

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