Ideas for Using Fresh Shiso

Ideas for using fresh shiso

This green herb is flourishing in the late summer garden here in Japan.  Now I must admit, I’m writing this partly because I just wanted to use these photos. Shiso is such a beautiful little plant.

Shiso, if you aren’t familiar, is the Japanese name for an Asian culinary herb. It is sometimes referred to as perilla, which could be misleading because this genus name refers to the wider family, other members of which lack the distinct shiso flavour. It is a member of the mint family, like basil. It has a wonderful distinctive fresh flavour. It has a place like basil in my mind, but not because their flavours are similar. Just as basil reminds me of pizza, pasta and lots of tomatoes, shiso stirs memories of favourite Japanese meals. I am relishing the summer when there is an abundance of fresh shiso. If you ever come across it, I urge you to try.

Here are a few ideas for using fresh shiso. The leaves are used mainly but if you ever grow your own or come across shiso plants with buds, you can eat those too. Although the flavour is quite distinct, you can use it anywhere you would use basil or other fresh herbs. Experiment and find your favourite combinations!

Ideas for using fresh shiso

Fresh shiso is wonderful for garnishing. Use on anything from salad to pasta for a kick of flavour.

Hiyayakko- Plain Tofu with Garnishes. Post on ideas for using fresh shiso.

Hiyayakko: Plain tofu topped with shallots, grated ginger and shiso is a staple. Drizzle with soy sauce and some sesame seed oil to taste.

I love making dressings with shiso. Just whisk together the ingredients. Add a little sweetener if you like your dressings sweet. Use on anything from salad, tofu to noodles.

Light soy sauce shiso dressing
1 tablespoon roasted sesame seed oil
3 tablespoon soy sauce
1-2 tablespoon vinegar, to taste
3 leaves fresh shiso, shredded

Creamy sesame shiso dressing
1 tablespoon tahini
1 tablespoon miso
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1+1/2 tablespoon vinegar
1 tablespoon roasted sesame seed oil
3 leaves fresh shiso, shredded

Shiso and sesame were meant to be together. And I think the same goes for shiso and miso.

If you missed it, here’s my post on miso based condiments in Japan. Just use shiso as the sautéed produce and follow the basic recipe.

Pepper of your choice, adjust the amount depending on your preference and the heat of your pepper. Remove the seeds if using a very hot pepper.
1 cup fresh shiso, shredded.
1 tablespoon roasted sesame oil (optional)
3 tablespoons miso
1 tablespoon mirin (optional)
additional sweetener (maple syrup etc.) (optional, to taste)

Finely mince the pepper. Heat a little sesame oil in the frying pan, if using. Place the pepper in the frying pan and sauté until soft and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the shiso and sauté for 1 minute, until wilted. Add all other seasonings and stir until combined. Taste, if it is too salty, add more sweetener. If it is too sweet, add more miso. Cook over a low flame for about 2 minutes, stirring to prevent sticking. Remove from the heat and allow it to cool. Transfer to an airtight container and store in the fridge.

Ideas for using fresh shiso
I’m going to round off this post with a few of my favourite flavour combinations with shiso.

Shiso and miso
Shiso and sesame
Shiso and roasted sesame seed oil
Shiso and soy sauce
Shiso and umeboshi (Not for everyone! You may love it or hate it)
Shiso and cheese

Shiso and tofu
Shiso and rice
Shiso and pasta

Shiso and cucumber
Shiso and aubergine (eggplant)
Shiso and pepper

Ideas for using fresh shiso


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