Mustard seed, rai, are to South Indian what cumin seeds are to the North. In Indian cooking, the brownish-black variety is used most. The best way to cook with them is to put them in hot oil, and to cover the pan until they pop a bit. Mustard seeds can be used in everything, from salads to lentil stews to pickles. They add tartness to a dish when ground to a powder and a mustard taste when ground to a paste. Keep in mind, that a little does go a long way and imparts a slightly tangy, bitter note to your dish. Fry them up in a little oil and try them in your next potato salad for some zip.
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