Chef Ken Oringer, a Boston-based Chef and Restaurateur, loves experimenting with fusion and crossover cuisines – but he had never heard of Mustard Oil before he met Indian-born food and travel writer Madhur Jaffrey.
Jaffrey walked into Oringer’s restaurant in Boston one day. They got talking about food and culinary styles… and then decided to try out some of the Indian recipes Jaffrey was referring to. When they started gathering the ingredients, Jaffrey asked “Where is the Mustard Oil?”
Oringer had never heard of Mustard Oil. He strolled down with Jaffrey to a nearby Indian grocery store and picked up several bottles of cold-pressed Mustard Oil. Oringer was intrigued to find that the bottles had labels that stated “For External Use Only”. Jaffrey told him to ignore it and pointed out that across large swathes of India, Mustard Oil was the primary cooking oil – and it had been that way for thousands of years.
When Oringer started cooking with Mustard Oil he discovered that no single ingredient could add as much flavour to a dish as mustard oil did. Soon he began experimenting with his existing menus, adding a dash of Mustard Oil to various signature dishes – and his customers loved it.
Once the stocks of Mustard Oil that Oringer had got during Jaffrey’s visit were exhausted, he went back to using his regular cooking oil. And that’s when his customers started telling him: “Something’s missing…”
That “something” was, of course, Mustard Oil. It has a certain zing, an exotic aroma and a rich silken sense of warmth that transforms any dish it is used in.
Now – whenever a dish fails to rise to the expected levels of flavour and aroma – Oringer goes into the kitchen and asks: “Hey! Where is the Mustard Oil?”