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Chinese Hot Mustard Sauce

Making Chinese hot mustard sauce at home is easy and requires using basic ingredients, including dry mustard seeds and water.

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Chinese hot mustard sauce recipe

Most appetizers are usually accompanied by Chinese hot mustard, a condiment that offers a real bite. You’ll feel the sinus-clearing heat with a simple touch of the potent spice. The mustard is usually given out in yellow packets in Chinese restaurants.

Chinese hot mustard is a wonderful hot dipping sauce for wontons, egg rolls, crab rangoon, and fried appetizers. The condiment adds a bit of bite to American fast food, such as popcorn shrimp and chicken nuggets.

You can also use it as a pungent sauce for steak. Its spiciness owes its mouthwatering properties to the mustard sauce used during preparation.

Mustard’s Origin

The plant has been grown in China for thousands of years. This brown mustard seed plant, whose scientific name is Brassica juncea, originates from the Himalayas. There are no records on the first use and preparation of mustard in China.

Mustard seed on table

What Is Chinese Hot Mustard Sauce?

The mustard is bought pre-made, or you can make your own at home using dry mustard powder and cold water and let it soak for 10 to 15 minutes. A chemical reaction causes a sharp spicy taste.

Other recipes may require adding cooking oil to lessen the effect. You can as well add sesame oil and rice vinegar.

Mustard powder is vegetarian and has no gluten. However, always check pre-made Chinese hot Mustard to ensure it has no gluten ingredients.

Mustard’s Enzyme Effect

Mustard seed is the primary ingredient in Chinese mustard powder, whose horseradish-like heat comes from an enzyme.

It’s hot because the mustard seed is rich in myrosinase, an enzyme that produces heat when cracked and mixed with a cold liquid.

The brown seeds from the Brassica juncea mustard plant produce mustard which is more intense than yellow seed often used in American yellow mustard.

Ingredients of Chinese Hot Mustard

Powder for Chinese hot mustard is dried and ground brown mustard seeds. Premade Chinese hot mustard usually includes:

  • Vinegar
  • Starch
  • Salt
  • Mustard
  • Tumeric

Chinese Hot Mustard Taste

Heat is what stands out when you taste Chinese hot mustard sauce. If it has been stored properly, the spice level doesn’t diminish, and you’re likely to experience a burning sensation. There’s also an element of tanginess behind the fire, just like the flavor of regular mustard.

Its chemical properties give this favorite Chinese condiment a strong bite despite its simple preparation. Mustard seeds are from a plant belonging to the cabbage family.

It has two sulfur compounds, sinigrin and myrosin, and myrosinase enzyme. Grounding dry mustard seeds and adding water makes the enzyme break down the sulfur compounds. This creates a sharp-tasting oil to make mustard pungent.

No wonder mustard comes from two Latin words mustum which means must, and ardens which means burning.

Tumeric on spoon

Cooking With Chinese Mustard

Chinese hot mustard powder is not usually used in cooking. However, I sometimes use whole mustard seeds and mustard greens in different Chinese dishes.

It’s usually served as a condiment for spicing up meat and various appetizers.

Chinese Mustard Seed Recipes

You can enjoy a hot bite of Chinese hot mustard seed sauce with most appetizers. It’s also a perfect accompaniment for spring rolls and egg rolls. You can also have it with baked chicken wontons and Chinese shrimp balls.

Substitutes for Pre-Made Chinese Mustard Powder

You can use a few other options if you can’t find pre-made Chinese hot mustard powder. I have listed some below.

Home-Made Chinese Mustard

Making hot mustard powder at home is easy and requires using basic ingredients, including dry mustard seeds and water. In a bowl, you must stir and blend a 1/4 cup of mustard powder and 1/4 cup of water. Keep it covered for about 45 minutes.

Afterward, your mustard powder is ready for serving or for storing. Keep it in a tightly covered jar to maintain its flavor. Adding 1/2 spoonful of mustard or olive oil to the mixture tones down the heat in the hot powder.

Spicy Brown Mustard

This is the American substitute for Chinese hot mustard powder. Both have brown mustard because it’s stronger than white mustard or yellow mustard.

Most brands in grocery stores have vinegar to give it a tart flavor. However, the brown variety produced in China is hotter than the US varieties.

English Mustard

This mustard powder is a combination of brown and white. English Colman’s dry mustard is a wonderful substitute for the mustard in Asian grocery stores for having the same flavor and texture.

Be wary of some brands containing starch to thicken the powder, which dilutes its taste by lessening the heat.


It’s a root vegetable with a pungent odor and spicy flavor, just like mustard. Despite not being a mustard variety, it’s part of the family.

Horseradish has similar enzymes as mustard with reasonably similar flavor and heat. You can prepare horseradish to substitute hot mustard powder.


This is a Japanese version of Chinese hot mustard with a similar flavor and texture. Wagarashi is made from brown mustard and water, like the Chinese version.

It’s a wonderful substitute, and you can use it interchangeably.

Dijon Mustard

The French version of the Chinese hot mustard is named after Dijon, a town in Burgundy. Its ingredients include brown mustard seeds and white wine or white vinegar.

Dijon mustard has the pungent heat of hot mustard and the mild tartness of the vinegar. Despite not being as pungent as Chinese hot mustard, it’s a decent substitute.

Where to Find Hot Mustard

I usually find hot mustard at Chinese grocery stores, in the condiment section of my local supermarket or online. If it’s unavailable, use any of the substitutes highlighted above to get the same pungency.

Mustard sauce in dish

Pre-prepared Mustard vs. Chinese Hot Mustard

Regular mustard isn’t as chilly as Chinese hot mustard because additives, including flour, tone down the enzyme reaction. The flavor of prepared mustard depends on factors such as the type of seeds used and spices added.

Chinese hot mustard includes brown mustard seeds, which are stronger than black and white mustard seeds used in other mustard.

Producing mustard powder involves grinding mustard seeds into powder. Some Chinese and European mustard powders include hotter brown seeds.

Chinese mustard varieties, such as hot dog and Dijon, are ready-to-use condiments, have a paste-like consistency, and are sold in jars. These are produced by mixing mustard powder and cold water.

Nutrition Facts:

  • Calories: 13kcal (1%)
  • Sugar: 1g (1%)
  • Protein: 1g (2%)
  • Iron: 0.2mg (1%)
  • Sodium: 73mg (3%)
  • Fiber: 1g (4%)
  • Fat: 1g (2%)
  • Calcium: 5mg (1%)
  • Carbohydrates: 1g
  • Potassium: 13mg
  • Saturated Fat: 1g (5%)

Storing Chinese Hot Mustard

Always keep your mustard in tightly closed jars for keeping in the refrigerator for about one year after opening. You can keep jars you haven’t opened in the pantry for about one to two years.

Home-made hot mustard is available for use right away. When you don’t use it immediately, adding some vinegar or rice wine inhibits the chemical reaction. This ensures that the mustard won’t lose its sharp edge. Some people believe the vinegar inhibits some of the mustard’s flavor.

The effect exists, although on a subtle level. Keeping the mustard in the refrigerator limits the reaction from continuing. If making extra mustard, use clean utensils when stirring and store it properly.

What Makes Chinese Hot Mustard Hot?

Mustard seed is the primary ingredient in Chinese hot mustard. It has horseradish-like heat that comes from the seed’s high concentration of myrosinase. It’s an enzyme that causes heat when cracked and mixed with hot water. If you want a sauce even hotter on the Scoville scale, the carolina reaper hot sauce recipe might be a better match!

Steaming water in pot


If you always go to your favorite Chinese restaurant for hot mustard, my recipe will guide you to make yours from home to enjoy with egg rolls or spring rolls. The recipe has everything you need, including an ingredient list, so you don’t have to think about Chinese takeout to enjoy the spicy taste.

Yield: 4 servings

Chinese Hot Mustard Sauce

Chinese Hot Mustard Sauce

Making Chinese hot mustard sauce at home is easy and only requires basic ingredients, including dry mustard seeds and water.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes


  • 1 tsp. mustard powder
  • 1/8 tsp. white pepper
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp. boiling water
  • 1/2 tsp. rice vinegar (optional)


  1. Mix the dry mustard ingredients in a small bowl until evenly distributed.
  2. Add water and stir well until it creates a liquid paste form.
  3. Next, add vegetable oil and mix until evenly distributed. Let the mixture rest while covered for 10 minutes.
  4. Stir again for the ingredients to be completely incorporated.
  5. Taste and adjust as you wish!


  • To make your sauce thinner, add some more boiling water or oil.
  • You can add more rice vinegar if you prefer it a tad tart or ignore the vinegar if you prefer it spicier!
  • Add more white pepper or mustard powder to make it spicier.
  • Chinese hot mustard is so easy to make. Therefore, make it in small amounts so you can enjoy it fresh every time.
  • Nutrition Information:



    Serving Size:


    Amount Per Serving: Calories: 8Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 70mgCarbohydrates: 0gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 0g

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