Tiny Mustard Seeds loaded with Health Benefits

Mustard plants grow in temperate regions in cold atmosphere. Different varieties of mustard are black mustard, brown Indian mustard and white mustard. Mustard seeds are referred to in the New Testaments, and in ancient Sanskrit scriptures. These were even used in olden Greece and Rome for its flavor and medicinal values.

All parts of the mustard plant, the stem, leaves and seeds are eaten in India. Black mustard seeds have the strongest taste and flavor, brown seeds are a little less pungent as compared to black seeds while the white ( light yellow) are the mildest ones.

Culinary uses of Mustard

The seeds are used for making pickles.

These are added to hot oil before cooking a dish for ‘tempering’, this brings out the sweeter side of the seeds.

They are used as salad dressing, in vegetables and dishes.

The taste of meat, fish etc. is enhanced by adding mustard seeds.

It is used for making mayonnaise, marinades, and barbecue sauce.

It is combined with vinegar or olive oil to make salad dressing.

Use Mustard seeds and stay Healthy

The seeds are a good source of omega 3 fatty acids, calcium, manganese, zinc, iron, copper, proteins, and fibre which help to improve the immunity of the body.

Mustard seeds contain B-complex vitamins such as niacin, folates, thiamine, and riboflavin which increase the metabolic rate of the body so they are good for digestion and also help you to loose weight.

Black mustard seeds when taken with milk 15 to 20 minutes before food improve the appetite.

The seeds are rich in magnesium which help to reduce the severity of asthma attacks, lowers blood pressure, and keeps cold and chest infection away. Selenium present in the seeds has anti inflammatory and heat producing properties.

A paste made from mustard seeds and applied on the body can relieve you from the pain caused by rheumatoid, arthritis and muscular pain.

As mustard seeds are rich in carotenes, lutein, zeaxanthins, vitamins A, C, and K, so it is a good source of anti oxidants which slow down the process of ageing.

Mustard oil kindles hair growth as it contains high percentage of beta carotene. When oil is extracted from the seeds beta carotene is changed into vitamin A, which is very good for hair growth. An oil message, once a week, relieves stress, reduces dandruff and encourages hair growth.

Mustard has good amount of niacin (vitamin B3) which helps to reduce the level of cholesterol. It also regulates the flow of blood and prevents hypertension.

The seeds are rich in fibre and contain a substance known as mucilage which helps to relieve constipation. They stimulate the production of saliva which in turn leads to improved digestion. One tea spoon of mustard seeds taken two to three times a day relieves constipation.

A rich source of sulphur, mustard seeds help to check skin infections and skin ailments. Sulphur has anti fungal and anti bacterial properties. Read more in detail for mustard seeds loaded with health benefits.

Conclusion

Mustard is used as seeds, oil, powder or as sauce to spice up the food. It not only adds flavor to your food but it has many medicinal properties as well. Make it a part of your daily food and improve your health.

Importance of Whole spices in Indian Cuisine

Indian spices and Indian food are inseparable. Indian food is not complete without these exotic spices. An assortment of spices are grown and produced in Indian subcontinent.

In the Indian cuisine, spices are added to the dish in various forms i.e. as whole spice, roasted, as grounded powder, stir fried, chopped or as a topping. Some spices are added to a dish in the blended form like garam masala, sambhar masala etc.

The spices used in Indian cuisine differ region wise according to the difference in climate. Those used in the Northern region are different from the ones used in the Southern region.

Different Whole Spices Used in Indian Cuisine:

Coriander Seeds (Dhania) – These light brown or golden seeds are hollow and crisp and they have a very nice nutty/lemony flavour. For tempering a dish these are used whole. As a flavouring agent, these are used in stews, sweet bread, cakes etc.

Coriander is rich in many minerals like iron, calcium, potassium, copper, zinc, and magnesium. It is an anti oxidant and contains vitamin C and B-complex.

Cumin Seeds – These add taste and a discrete strong flavor to the food. Since ancient times this spice has been used as a flavouring agent to cook meat dishes as well as vegetarian curries, rice dishes, dry vegetables etc. It is also used for tempering soups, dals and other dishes .

The cumin seeds are rich in iron, calcium, selenium, copper, manganese, zinc, magnesium, and potassium. These also have vitamin B-complex, vitamin E, A and C.

These help in digestion and avert diarrhea, nausea and help to cure common colds.

Asafoetida ( Hing )– It is also called ‘devil’s dung’, or the ‘stinking gum’ because of its strong pungent smell. This smell changes when you add it to hot oil or ghee for tempering or seasoning the food.

Asafoetida helps to lower blood pressure, it prevents constipation, reduces flatulence. Colic in infants can be cured if a small piece of warm hing is placed on the baby’s stomach.

Mustard Seeds –3 types of mustard seeds are used in cooking, black, white and brown mustard. When these are fried in oil, they impart a beautiful fragrance to the food.

Mustard seeds are used for cooking rice, salads, vegetables and for making pickles. These are fried in oil and used for tempering food items to add colour and flavour.

These seeds contain selenium which helps to reduce asthma, it is anti-inflammatory and has anti-cancer properties. The seeds contain omega-3 fatty acids, iron, protein, calcium, zinc, and manganese.

Sesame Seeds – These seeds have many nutritional, preventive and curing properties. The seeds have a slight nutty flavor which becomes stronger when the seeds are roasted.

It is used as a seasoning for many dishes. These are scattered over bakery products like cakes, biscuits etc. they are used for making Indian sweets, like gajjak, mixed with peanuts and jaggery, which is eaten in the cold season.

The seeds contain many essential nutrients, minerals, antioxidants and vitamins like B- complex, folic acid, calcium, iron, copper etc.

Conclusion

Thus, spices add flavor and aroma to a dish. Each spice has an exclusive flavor, but when it is blended with other spices the flavour it imparts is out of the ordinary. Not only the aroma, spices have many medicinal benefits also. So when these are used in the food they are beneficial to our health as well.

Indian Spices – Best of Healthy & Tasty Food

Spices are dried aromatic parts of the plants, normally the leaf, flower, roots, bark or nuts of a plant, pods, stalks or berries, which are dried, maybe roasted and ground to be added to the other ingredients. Spices add flavour, aroma and add therapeutic value to the food items. It is actually hard to imagine cooking without spices. With us having a huge variety of ground spices of the finest quality…..the potential for cooking and creating delicious recipes at home has never been better!

The enthusiasm for trying different flavours lies behind the availability of ready spices. Use of spices dates back centuries and encompasses both cooking and healing roles. Today, there also a revival of interest in the healing power of spices and are becoming popular for their mild therapeutic qualities.

People throughout the world flavour their foods and beverages with spices. The traditional dishes of Asia feature large quantities of cinnamon, cloves, ginger and pepper. Spices enhance the flavour and aroma of any dish. Each and every spice has its own merit. Pickling spices act as preservatives of meat and other foods which would otherwise spoil. Spices possess nutritional and medicinal merits as well. Today, there is a better understanding of the role spices play in our well-being. Ayurveda, the system of Indian medicine, inculcates a large number of spices in its combination of preventive and curative medicines. The extra zing that makes Indian food so popular all over the world is because of the spices used to cook Indian food dishes. The basis for Indian sauces is the ground masalas and spices. The popular Garam masala is used in many types of gravy and otherwise. The combinations of the different spices used in the Indian foods vary from region to region in India and this gives the unique flavour to the dishes. India is a vast country with many states. The spices are mixed together to make various combination spices which make the food more palatable and tasty. Spices add nutrients and flavour to the dishes without fat or calories.

Turmeric, an essential spice in Indian food, is used because turmeric inhibits blood clotting, reduces liver toxins, and helps the liver metabolize fats and so aids weight loss. . It is believed that turmeric could play a role in slowing down the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. Peppercorns have a pungent, woody aroma and are hot. The garam masala is a mixture of spices. Asafoetida is a resin taken from a plant, and is a distinctive and pungent spice. It is commonly found in the powdered form. Asafoetida is used mainly for its digestive properties, especially in the cooking of beans and lentils, as it is known to have anti-flatulence properties. All Indian spices offer significant health benefits and contribute towards a healthy life of the individuals. The five key Indian spices are cumin seeds, coriander seeds, ground turmeric, mustard seeds, and ground red chilli powder. All of these provide harmony in flavour of the food.

The Popularity of Traditional Indian Spices

India is known in the world for its beautiful traditions and its mouth-watering food. The food items and the recipes are famous throughout the world due to the spices used in them. These spices add aroma and taste to the food, they also possess certain medicinal values.

Indian food cannot be imagined without these spices. Indian spices like celery, coriander, cumin, and mint have been proved to cure a variety of diseases like common cold, cough, cancerous tumors etc. Now people are beginning to understand the significance of Indian spices in food and medicine. Spices are known to have a positive influence on the digestive process and the absorption of the food.

Spices not only enhance the flavor and aroma of the food they also provide color, and taste to a range of cuisines. Even the western countries have adopted the use of these spices in food preparations. These may be used whole or in powder form. Indian food and spices have been popular all over the world since early times.

The Romans and the Arab traders imported spices from India. Indian cuisine and spices became very popular all over the world by the Middle Ages.  India had active spice trade with major kingdoms in Asia and Europe. At that time many battles were also fought to get access to the spice route to India.

Some of the main and commonly used Indian spices comprise black pepper, turmeric powder, asafetida, cardamom, mustard, coriander, ginger, cumin, red chilli powder, fennel, cloves etc. The spices are also used to make a variety of medicines and cosmetics. Mustards and  cloves are used to preserve food for long period of time.

The spices are derived from different parts of the plants.

  • Roots – Spices like turmeric, ginger, garlic and onion are the roots of the plant. Turmeric has anti-bacterial and antiseptic properties. It is used in a variety of cosmetics and other beauty products. It is used for treating internal injuries. Ginger is used for treating stomach problems, ulcers, common colds and acidity.
  • Leaves – The leaves of peppermint, rosemary, curry leaves, coriander and  methi are very popular.  Mint leaves give a unique and distinctive flavor to the dishes. Coriander leaves have a refreshing aroma. These leaves have a number of medicinal benefits like improving digestion and the appetite.
  • Bark – Cinnamon, the most popular varieties of Indian spicy, is the bark of a tree. It has a rich aroma and a strong flavor. It is used in a number of dishes for its appetizing taste. It aids in lowering blood sugar and cholesterol and to improve the digestive system.
  • Flowers – Caper, rose and saffron are parts of the flower, and are  used in the Indian cuisine for their rich and unique fragrance.
  • Seeds – The seeds of cumin, coriander, cardamom, fenugreek etc. are some very popular Indian spices. Fenugreek is used for purification of blood, as a laxative, and as an antidote for various skin problems. Cumin is a popular seasoning, which is rich in iron and has antioxidant properties.

Thus, spices essentially add spice in life and to the diet. Using spices is a simple way to improve the food and to boost your overall health. This is the major reason for the popularity of traditional Indian spices.

The Most Popular Whole Spices Used in the Preparation of Indian Food

Indian cuisine owes its popularity to the variety of spices used in the preparation of the numerous dishes.

Spices may be used fresh or dry, whole or powdered. The best option is to buy whole spices and grind them when required. Store the whole spices in suitably sized jars so that their essential oils don’t evaporate.

Spices lend flavour, colour and texture to the dish. Different Indian spices are used in different dishes due to the varied properties of the spices. Most common spices used in Indian cookery are cumin, coriander seeds, fenugreek, mustard, sesame, ajowan etc.

Cumin ( Jeera) seeds are oblong in shape and yellow-brownish in colour. Its flavour is enhanced when it is fried in fat, its use in dal tadka is well known. Cumin seeds are the main component in the Indian appetizers like jal jeera and beverages like lime – soda etc. due to its cooling property. It can be roasted, ground and sprinkled over any raita, dal or vegetable curry, meat, poultry etc. to make the dish more appetizing

Coriander ( Dhania ) seeds are round in shape and have lemony citrus flavour when crushed. Coriander seeds are added to hot oil before adding vegetables and meat to impart a very pleasant flavour to the dish. Coriander leaves are used to garnish dishes.

Fenugreek ( Methi) Fresh leaves have strong nutty flavour and are used to finish off many dishes like butter chicken, shahi paneer etc. Fenugreek seeds are small yellowish amber coloured and very hard. They are used in cooking potato, sambar, chutneys, pickles etc. The seeds are one of the main components of spice mixes like curry powder, sambar powder, panch phoron .

Mustard (Rai) seeds are very small round seeds. Three kinds are most common, white, brown and black.  White mustard seeds are milder in flavour and suitable for pickling. Black mustard is smaller in size and more pungent. The brown ones are small like the black ones but not as pungent in flavour. Mustard seeds have a strong pungent flavour that goes very well with many Indian dishes like sambar, poha etc. The seeds are fried in hot oil or ghee till they pop.

Sesame seeds ( Til ) are flat and small in size. They come in many colours and varieties including white seeds and black seeds. The hulled sesame seeds are used in confectionery products like cookies, burgers, breads, cereals etc. Sesame seeds have a slight crunch and delicate nutty flavour. The flavour becomes more pronounced when they are gently dry roasted or added to hot oil. They have heat producing effect and are thus consumed more in winters in the form of laddos, gajjak ( sesame brittle), and other Indian sweets. Sesame seeds have a high content of oil so should be stored in air-tight jars in cool dry places.

Ajowan, seeds are small, greyish green and striped like cumin. The flavour is like thyme but stronger. It is used in very small quantities as it has a strong dominant flavour. Ajowan tastes great in savoury dishes like spicy biscuits, naan, pakoras, dals vegetables, soups, sauces, drinks. It is extensively used in pickles due to its pungent aroma.

Essential Indian Spice – Cardamom, Mustard Seeds

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Cardamom – along with cumin and coriander seeds, cardamom are an essential Indian spice. The pungent and warm bouquet of cardamom seeds with their distinct aroma is unforgettable and the spice adds a pleasing, warm, slightly lemon-like flavour, with an element of eucalyptus and camphor. The plant grows in tropical and sub-tropical areas and comes mainly from India, which produces 80% of the world’s crop. It is a tall shrub with short stems that, after flowering, carry small green seed capsules. Green cardamoms are the most common and useful; white cardamoms are the same type of pods that have been bleached (they are used in Indian desserts). Black cardamoms are quite different; the black spice is used in long cooked, highly flavoured savoury Indian dishes. The flavour is coarse and too overpowering for light dishes. Cardamom plays an essential role in both sweet and savoury dishes worldwide. It is an essential flavour in Indian curries, pulaos, garam masala and other spice mixtures, and is also essential to the flavour of many Indian sweetmeats, desserts, ice-creams and drinks such as the classic chai. The spice is also used widely in Scandinavian and German cooking- in pickles, with herrings and in cakes and pastries. It is one of the spices that flavour aquavit, along with caraway. It is also said that chewing cardamom seeds helps to freshen the breath. The ancient Egyptians used the spice for this purpose, simultaneously whitening their teeth. The eucalyptus and camphor of cardamom does seem to be an antidote to the smell of garlic or alcohol on the breath. Cardamom is also widely used in Arab and North African cooking in spicy stews.

Mustard seeds – the word mustard comes from the Latin word mustum or must, the name for the grape juice used to mix the ground seeds to a paste, known in turn as the mustum ardens, the burning paste. There are three different kinds of mustard seed: white (alba), brown (juncea), and black (nigra). Mustard seeds have little or no smell. The hot taste that gives mustard its bite is released only when the seeds are crushed and mixed with water. Crushing and moistening the mustard, or mixing powdered mustard with water, activates an enzyme present in the seeds, and it reacts with other natural constituents to develop the essential oil, which gives mustard its characteristic taste. Black seeds have the sharpest, most pungent flavour, white seeds are much milder, while the brown seeds come somewhere in between. Mustard is an indispensible ingredient in cooking: the different whole seeds, ground or powdered seeds, prepared pastes and oil are all used. The white seeds are used in pickling and the brown and black seeds are used throughout India in curry powders and also as separate spice for tempering. The seeds are cooked in hot oil until they pop and are then stirred into a variety of vegetable and daal dishes. Mustard oil is used in many Indian recipes. Mustard is used in salad dressings and in mayonnaise. It is also added to cheese sauce, and sauces for cabbage and cauliflower. The seeds can also be sprouted in a glass jar, in a similar way to beansprouts. The delicate sprouts can be used in salads and sandwiches.

Mustard – Ancient Spices, Health Benefits of Mustard

MUSTARD…

Mustard is one of the most ancient spices. These seeds pack a lot of health benefits. Greens, Seeds (black, yellow or brown) and oil, all have many curative and culinary uses since ancient times. Three types of mustard seeds are Black mustard, White mustard and Brown mustard. White mustard seeds, (Brassica alba) are light straw yellow coloured and are slightly larger than the other two varieties. Black mustards (Brassica nigra) are commonly seen in South Asia. The seeds are sharp and more pungent than other two varieties. Brown mustards (Brassica juncea) are native to sub- Himalayan plains of Northern India.

Generally perceived as health benefiting spice, mustard seeds are indeed very rich in phytonutrients, minerals, vitamins and anti-oxidants. Mustard stimulates the appetite by increasing salivation up to eight times. It also has laxative and digestive stimulant properties and also aids circulation. Mustard seeds are rich in Selenium and Magnesium. Selenium helps reduce the severity of asthma, decrease some of the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, and help prevent cancer.  They are good source of omega-3 fatty acids. Mustard oil has anti-septic and antifungal properties. Massage with mustard oil on the body gives strength. Mustard oil is rich in mono saturated fatty acids and low in saturated fats making it the perfect heart friendly cooking medium. Greek scientist Pythagoras used mustard as a remedy for scorpion stings. Continue reading