This oil has a distinctive pungent taste, characteristic of all plants in the mustard family, Brassicaceae (for example, cabbage, cauliflower, turnip, radish, horseradish, or wasabi). It is often used for cooking in North India, Eastern India, Nepal, and Bangladesh. In Bengal, Odisha, Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, and Nepal, it is the traditionally preferred oil for cooking. The oil makes up about 30% of the mustard seeds. It can be produced from black mustard (Brassica nigra), brown Indian mustard (B. juncea), and white mustard (B. hirta).
The characteristic pungent flavour of mustard oil is due to allyl isothiocyanate. Mustard oil has about 60% monounsaturated fatty acids (42% erucic acid and 12% oleic acid); it has about 21% polyunsaturated fats (6% the omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid and 15% omega-6 linoleic acid), and it has about 12% saturated fats.