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Indian Food and Ingredients
Mustard Seeds | Rai | Sarson

Yellow Mustard Seed or Sarson
Black Mustard Seed or Rai
Yellow Mustard Seed (Sarson)
Black Mustard Seed (Rai)

There are two types of mustard seed commonly used in India, black mustard seed (called rai) and yellow mustard seed (called sarson). The south Indian recipes generally use black mustard seeds (rai)while Bengali cuisine and other north Indian cuisine more frequently use yellow seeds (sarson). Usually, the mustard seeds are either used as part of spice mixture such as garam masala or whole seeds are fired in hot oil where mustard seeds crackle and pop to give nutty spicy flavor. Generally,  the whole black mustard seeds (rai) are fried and used with dal, achar, and other indian vegetarian dishes and use yellow mustard with vegetable curry or fish. Mustard seeds have canonical use in India where it is used an agent to ward off evil spirits during illness. The Buddhist canons often cite the use of mustard as the spice.

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