We’ve become obsessed with the fried mustard seeds that top the potato and fennel salad at Kismet in LA (one of Bon Appétit‘s best new restaurants in the country). They’re crunchy, spicy, and super aromatic. Often found in Indian cuisine, mustard seeds lend flavor to sauces and curries. Frying the seeds first makes the mustard taste more subtle and brings out a more complex flavor, which Kismet chef Sara Kramer describes as “a floral, vanilla undertone.”
To fry mustard seeds at home, bring up your oil in a skillet so that it’s really, really hot. Pour in the mustard seeds and wait for them all to pop. It’s a bit like popcorn—everything will start popping very quickly and, within 5-10 seconds, it’ll start slowing down. Don’t leave them in too long, as they’ll get bitter if burned. Pour them out through a metal sieve, and drain on a paper towel before using in one of these five delicious ways:
For breakfast, sprinkle them over an open-face sandwich to give creamy avocado slices or hard-boiled eggs some crunch.
Impart a deep flavor to beef stew and curry by stirring in the seeds with their oil before portioning into bowls.
Just before serving, use the seeds to garnish fresh beefsteaks. Their spicy kick complements the fruit’s tanginess and adds great texture.
Whisk them into yogurt or coconut sauce to balance the fat. An added bonus: The dark speckles look cool swirled into milky liquid.