Have you ever eaten Shiso, aka Perilla or Beefsteak Plant? If you have eaten in a Japanese restaurant, you may have had this yummy treat without knowing it. The name shiso comes from the Chinese word, zisu which means “purple”. Perilla, as I call it, can be green or purple depending on the variety and where it is grown.
Perilla is in the mint family and extremely easy to grow although many of you have this growing in the wild on the edge of the woods. Go check and see after reading this post and let me know!
Description and Biology
- Plant: small, freely-branching annual herb that grows to 18-30 in. high; stems four-sided and covered with short hairs.
- Leaves: opposite, ovate, green to purple with toothed margins; distinctive musky mint-like odor.
- Flowers, fruits and seeds: flowers are small, bell-shaped, white and purple with a distinctive ring of fine hairs along the bottom in terminal spikes or emerging from leaf axils; July and October.
- Spreads: by seed that either drops close to parent plant or may be transported by wind or water.
- Look-alikes: beefsteak plant superficially resembles basil and coleus and can be confused with other members of the mint family.***From nps.gov
Medicinal Benefits of Perilla:
- Leaves edible, contain calcium, iron and vitamin C
- Good source of antioxidants
- Used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for asthma, colds, and flu
- Seeds high in omega 3’s and support a healthy immune system.
I personally like to combine perilla leaves with kudzu leaves and lemon balm for colds or just a pleasant tasting tea.
MY ABSOLUTE FAVORITE WAY TO USE IT?
The following recipe was given to me by my friend Brooke. I tasted one of these pickled leaves and was hooked for life!!! The original recipe, or what was posted was on www.mykoreankitchen.com
Pickled Perilla with Brown Rice Recipe
- 20-30 Fresh Perilla Leaves
- Seasoning Sauce: Mix the following in a medium sized bowl
- 10 Tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon korean chili powder
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons sliced green onions
- optional – 2 tablespoons chopped green and red chilis
- Rinse perilla leaves in cold running water and drain them in a colander while getting the sauce ready.
- Prepare the sauce by mixing the rest of the ingredients in a bowl.
- Layer perilla leaves in a glass container with a lid, about 3-5 at a time either stacked(I could be that anal!) or in a layer. Spread about a tablespoon of the sauce over the leaves. Repeat the process until all leaves are layered with sauce. Any left over sauce can be poured over the top.
- Cover and refrigerate. This can be eaten after a few days. It tastes even better after a week! Will keep in fridge for months!!
- To eat, cook up some brown rice and fill each leaf with the rice, roll up or squish it together and eat. 😀 Totally yum!!!