A member of the mint
family, this jagged-edged herb
papery-thin leaves and a bright, distinctive aroma. It's flavor is
strong and complex, and maybe best described as a blend of mint and
hints of a citrus, cilantro
Though traditionally used as a garnish for sushi
and tempura dishes,
shiso is no longer exclusive to Japanese-style cooking. The age-old
herb is appearing in more modern and global interpretations,
particularly in the fusion-style menus of California cuisine. Today,
versatile shiso is used to flavor everything from tofu
, bubble tea
to salads, ravioli
Shiso is also known as perilla, beefsteak
plant and orba.
Shiso comes in two varieties: aojiso (green perilla)
and akajiso (purple-red perilla)
The green variety is more common and widely used in restaurants. The
purple-red is less aromatic, but prized as natural coloring
agent. It's often used to tint umeboshi
(dried, salted, pickled plums
and pickled ginger
Shiso is most readily available at Japanese grocery stores where it's stocked in the produce
aisle year-round. The leaves should appear fresh; not dry or wilted. They should
also have an invigorating aroma.
Rinse the leaves under cold water and shake off the excess moisture.
Fold them into a slightly dampened paper towel, place in a plastic bag
and refrigerate. Use within three days—shiso rapidly loses color, flavor
and aroma as it dries.
If you're just getting to know shiso, start by taste-testing just a
small bite. The leaves have the most pronounced flavor when uncooked,
and some people find it to be quite strong. Chances are, though, once you
experience this marvelous herb, you won't be able to get enough of it.
Here are some simple ways to add it to your recipe repertoire:
• Use shiso as you would
mint, basil or parsley
• Float in mojitos
or pitchers of lemonade
• Use to make pesto instead of basil.
• Deep fry in tempura
serve with dipping sauce.
• Cut into thin strips and add to salads (fruit, tomato, pasta, chicken), rice
and cold noodles.
• Use as a pizza topping.
Try one of our favorite shiso recipes:
Stuffed Shiitake Mushrooms
Roulades of Salmon w
View BigOven's shiso recipes