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For more than 2,000 years, Black Mustard Seed has been used as a condiment. It was mentioned by the Roman author Columella in the 1st century A.D. The plant leaves were also pickled in vinegar. In 13th century France the seeds were ground and used. They were mixed with partially fermented grape juice to create 'mout-ardent' (or burning must). This became later 'moutarde', now called Mustard in English.
The seeds are commonly used in Indian cuisine, for example in curry, where it is known as rai. The seeds are usually thrown into hot oil or ghee, after which they pop, releasing a characteristic nutty flavor. The seeds have a significant amount of fatty oil, mainly Oleic acid. This oil is used often as cooking oil in India, it is called 'sarson ka tel'.
In Ethiopia, where it is cultivated as a vegetable in Gondar, Harar and Shewa, the shoots and leaves are consumed cooked and the seeds used as a spice. Its Amharic name is senafitch.