Jakhya: The Underrated Spice From Uttarakhand

India and its huge range of spices cannot be separated. There are so many spices that we use in everyday cooking because of the flavour and aroma, they offer. Some spices are known for their unmatched colour while some are known for their fragrance. From turmeric to red chili, from cumin to mustard, there are so many spices that we use in everyday cooking but there are some that we hardly know about. 

One of the most underrated spices found in India is Jakhya also known as wild mustard or dog mustard or Asian spider flower or cleome viscosa. These are small dark brown or black seeds grown in the wild or in fallow land in Uttarakhand. These resemble mustard seeds and are extensively used in Garhwal cooking. These little seeds are known for adding a tempting aroma and nutty crunch to any dish and are usually dried before being put to use. They add a sharp smell and add a unique flavour to the dishes they are put in. Despite being so versatile, not many people know about this amazing spice! 

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Jakhya is one of the widely used ingredients in the state and can add life to literally any pahadi dish. Jakhya is crackled in oil before being tossed into curries and dals. It can also be a perfect substitute for jeera or mustard seeds. Jakhya leaves are also eaten as a substitute for green vegetables. Its seeds are naturally grown produce of hills. Right from healing malaria fever to curing ulcers, the whole plant can work like magic for health. As per the Treatise on Indian Medicinal Plants, published by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research in 1991, the Jakhya plant could be used for treating fever, inflammations, liver ailments, and even diarrhea. The oil extracted from jakhya seeds could be used for treating infantile convulsions and mental disorders. You didn’t know this, did you? 

If you really wanna know how great these little seeds are, try making aloo jakhiya and give your taste buds a treat. Follow the steps below and make this blissful dish at home. 

                             Image credits: Instagram/awayinthekitchen


  • 300 gm potatoes (Preferably small) 
  • 2 tbsp mustard oil 
  • 1 tbsp Jakhya seeds 
  • Pinch of turmeric seeds 
  • Salt to taste 
  • Red chilies  
  • A handful of coriander leaves 


  • Heat oil in a kadhai or a thick-bottomed pan. 
  • Let the oil come to the smoking point. 
  • Then, add Jakhya seeds and let them crackle. 
  • Add turmeric powder and boiled potatoes. 
  • Stir well and sprinkle a little water on it just to moisten them. 
  • Add salt and cover the lid. Let it cook on a low flame. 
  • Uncover at frequent intervals and stir. Also, sprinkle water whenever required. 
  • Garnish with red chilies and fresh coriander leaves. Serve!