As a hungry preteen, I was obsessed with Trader Joe’s (now discontinued) Hot & Sweet Mustard. I was hot. It was sweet. It was really good slathered on slices of salty deli ham. It is no more.
If you ask someone what mustard “tastes like” they might tell you it’s both “pungent” and “acidic,” which is not quite right. This half-truth is sometimes perpetuated by well-meaning food writers, who tout mustard as “secret ingredient” that can cut through richness with its “acidity,” while claiming that “yellow, Dijon,...Read more
Sweet and spicy mustards aren’t exactly rare, but I have yet to find one that hit the same as the TJ’s offering I adored as a tween. Fortunately, I have figured out a way to make an even more aggressive dupe. By harnessing the sinus-clearing power of dried mustard, you (and I) can make a super spicy, super sweet, ham-worthy mustard with just three ingredients, one of which is water.
Water plays a key role, actually, as it is what activates the enzymes that liberate the pain-causing molecules in the mustard. (I tried making this mustard with just two ingredients, but you simply cannot omit the water and expect the same level of potency.)
I’ve made this mustard with both honey and maple syrup, and I prefer the maple, which doesn’t dominate the mustard quite like honey. (You may prefer honey, however; try it and see.) Besides water and some sort of syrupy sweetener, all you’ll need is dried mustard. I’m particularly fond of S&B, which you can find at any Asian food market, or order online. You can also add a little salt and/or white pepper to suit your palate — I like a pinch of each. The recipe below makes a single serving — enough for a sandwich or a few chicken tenders — but can be scaled up quite easily. (It does lose its potency as it sits, however, so don’t bother making a whole bunch at once.)
Super Spicy Super Sweet Mustard
2 teaspoons dried mustard
1/2 teaspoon water
1 tablespoon maple syrup (or honey)
Pinch of salt (optional)
Pinch of white pepper (optional)
Combine mustard and water in a small bowl and stir to form a paste. Add the syrup or honey, stir to combine, then cover and let sit for 10 minutes. Give everything one more stir, then taste and season with salt and white pepper if you so desire. Enjoy with slices of deli ham for the authentic Claire Lower tween experience.