My antique German cobalt blue and white mustard pots with hinged with pewter hardware – charming miniatures of beer mugs from the same manufacturer – showcase my latest attempts at mustard. Making your own mustard is a snap and happens in a matter of a few minutes, with waiting time between. No one in her right mind should pay the kind of prices these condiments command in specialty shops, though I’m sure there are amazing choices out there that would be hard to duplicate.
The technique using whole mustard seed is simple. (There’s another technique using powdered mustard.) You soak the whole seeds in vinegar (sometimes with spices) overnight. Puree the mix into a paste in a food processor or blender. Add salt, sweetener (honey or sugar) and seasonings and let sit at room temperature for a couple of days or until the flavor is mellow enough for your taste. Then refrigerate it to store. That’s it.
The first recipe is new for me and comes from a recipe for Sri Lankan mustard paste in At Home with Madhur Jaffrey. It contains ginger, which I increased, and garlic and cayenne, which I decreased. I used yellow mustard seeds since I wanted the purity of color (boosted by a pinch of turmeric.). This was fresh and clean tasting and lovely in color. Jaffrey serves it with curry or slathers it on pineapple. (I haven’t braved that yet.)
The second is a riff on Dijon-style mustard that I’ve made before. This time I used half yellow and half brown mustard seeds, which provided a slightly grainy texture. I find that the yellow seeds are mellower, dissolve more quickly and make a fluffier mustard. I decreased the proportion of vinegar to seeds that I used in the first recipe to account for the addition of white wine. I also drained off the soaking vinegar, reserving it to add back in, before I ground the mustard to a paste.
Sri Lankan Mustard adapted from Madhur Jaffrey
6 tbsp yellow mustard seeds (or a combination of yellow and brown)
2 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 two-inch piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1 c cider vinegar
½ tsp cayenne pepper (more or less to taste but be cautious)
2 tsp salt
¼ tsp ground turmeric
4 tsp sugar
Soak the mustard seeds, garlic and ginger in a bowl with the cider overnight. Blend the contents in a food processor or blender until a paste forms. Add the remaining ingredients and whir to combine. Put in a jar and leave, unrefrigerated, to mellow for 2-3 days. (You should taste after two and add more cayenne if necessary since pepper mellow when it ages.) Refrigerate.
Grainy Dijon-style Mustard
3 tbsp yellow mustard seeds
3 tbsp brown mustard seeds
¾ c cider vinegar
¼ c white wine
1½ tsp salt (or to taste)
2 tsp sugar or honey
Soak the mustard seeds in a bowl with the cider overnight. Blend the contents in a food processor or blender until a paste forms. (The paste might form better if some of the vinegar is drained off first and then re-added.) Add the remaining ingredients and whir to combine. Put in a jar and leave, unrefrigerated, to mellow for 2-3 days. Refrigerate.