Black mustard seed, unlike the yellow seed, is red-brownish, almost black. Its pods are black also and contain up to 12 seeds. These are round and rigid, varying in color, from dark coffee-colored to black. Black mustard seeds have a strong pungent taste and are the only mustard seeds used in Indian cooking. Almost always the seeds are fried in a little oil until they “pop” and then the rest of the spices or aromatics are added to the same oil to continue cooking. This technique is found in the recipe for Cashew/Coconut Chutney.
Because of the presence of mucilages, mustard has laxative effects. It is a source of oil which is uses extensively in Punjab in pickles and to fry fish. Mustard flour made from the ground seeds has been used in the bath because combining it with warm water increases arterial pressure and stimulates blood circulation. At the same time, mustard has anti-inflammatory properties.