What Is Hot Mustard?

You’ve seen in the little packets, along with the soy sauce and the duck sauce: Chinese hot mustard. It packs a punch, a kick, or any of your preferred violent acts. But what is hot mustard? What makes Chinese hot mustard hot? Read on to find out—and keep a glass of milk nearby, just in case. 

What is hot mustard?

When we say hot mustard, we’re talking about Chinese hot mustard—that spicy condiment that often comes in little packets with your takeout. You can get it as both a sauce and a powder. Either way, it’ll clear your sinuses and complement anything greasy and crispy, like egg rolls.  

What is in Chinese hot mustard?

Homemade Chinese hot mustard is simply ground brown mustard seed and water. Premade hot mustard often includes starch, vinegar, salt, and turmeric, along with ground mustard seed. 

How to make Chinese hot mustard?

Though it can be bought premade, making Chinese hot mustard at home is quite simple. All you have to do is mix dry hot mustard powder with water. That’s right, you’ve mastered the art of hot mustard with the combination of just two ingredients! Go on out and buy yourself that chef’s hat, you’ve earned it! 

What makes Chinese mustard hot?

You may be surprised to discover that no additional chili or wasabi or heat source is added to Chinese hot mustard. That nasal-clearing spice is all thanks to brown mustard seeds. When the seeds are broken and water is added, an enzyme called myrosinase within the mustard seed breaks down two sulfur compounds (myrosin and sinigrin), resulting in a sharp tasting oil that gives hot mustard its signature gusto. 

Now that you know all about hot mustard, you can run out and grab a bottle or some powder. Just be sure to pick up some tissues while you’re at it. It’s just like the old adage says, “Hot mustard, though stunning, will have thy nose running!” Ok, so it’s a new adage, what are you going to do? You’ve got to admit it’s been a while since we’ve gotten some new adages. I’m just trying to pick up the slack, here!

About the Author

Joe Rumrill

Joe Rumrill is a fictional one-eyed spinach-loving sailor created in 1929 by E.C Se- Wait, no, that's not right... Joe Rumrill is a stand up comedian and writer currently based in Los Angeles. His favorite thing about food is a close tie between the taste and the nutrients one gets from it. His least favorite thing about it is the "gritty, dirt-like quality some food has", but he's most likely referring to the time in third grade he was dared to eat playground sand.

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