Remember Shahrukh Khan romancing Kajol in the vast expanse bejewelled with peppy yellow flowers? With Shahrukh Khan crooning “Tujhe Dekha To Ye Jana Sanam” sporting a cowboy attire and a disarming smile, DDLJ was our answer to the quintessential romanticism of the ’90s. For the knowledge of the newbies (read Generation Z) born much later, this classic song that almost became a love anthem for many years was shot in the mustard fields of Punjab!
The lush pastoral landscape of these golden yellow fields comes from the cultivation of different varieties of mustard plant (Brassica juncea, carinata or napus). The mustard seeds from the mustard plant are pressed to make mustard oil, which is a popular cooking medium in Indian kitchens.
Loaded with health benefits, mustard oil is used to dish out numerous delicacies and even illuminate diyas during many Indian rituals. Such is the popularity of mustard oil that it is hard to imagine life without a bottle of mustard oil in Indian households.
Mustard oil or, Sarson ka tel as it is commonly known in the local dialect, usually comes in two variants-
- Grade 1 Mustard Oil- Commonly known as Kachchi Ghani, this is the mustard oil in its purest form. The oil is extracted from the seeds by the cold press extraction method so that its natural properties, antioxidants and all essential oils are retained.
- Grade 2 Mustard Oil- Grade 2 mustard oil is obtained by pressing mustard seeds. It is not recommended for edible purposes and mostly used for therapeutic purposes.
Health benefits of mustard oil
Mustard oil contains good amounts of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids (MUFA and PUFA). It is also a rich source of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. Some health benefits of mustard oil are-
- Good for heart- Being a rich source of MUFA, it lowers your bad cholesterol, thus keeping a control on blood fat levels. Mustard oil is also rich in alpha-linolenic acid which lowers the risk of Ischemic Heart Disease.
- Good for skin- Mustard oil makes for excellent massage oil. It is loaded with Vitamin E, a nutrient that nourishes the skin. Newly born babies are massaged with warm mustard oil. However, mustard oil should be used in limited quantities as using it too much can cause irritation.
- Good for hair- Mustard oil contains beta carotene which is excellent for hair growth. Massaging warm mustard oil gently into the scalp activates blood circulation and prevents scalp infections.
- Good for cracked heels and brittle nails- Cracked heels and brittle nails can be treated by mixing the heated candle wax with an equal amount of mustard oil till it becomes a thick mixture. Fill in your cracked heels with this mixture before going to bed. Massaging your nails gently with mustard oil lubricates the nail bed and nourishes the nails.
How to use mustard oil
- For cooking- To temper its strong smell and pungency, it is recommended that you heat mustard oil to the smoking point and then cool it to the required temperature before you start with your cooking.
- For flavoring- It can be used as a flavouring agent by adding a few drops into the finely chopped salad.
- As a preservative- Because of its preservative qualities, mustard oil is an excellent base for chutneys and pickles.
Note: Black mustard seeds obtained from the mustard plant are a common ingredient in Indian cooking. They are mostly stir-fried along with other aromatic ingredients to season the recipes.
See the video below for a healthy salad using mustard oil.
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