Among all Japanese herbs and spices,probably the most famous is wasabi. It gives a unique pungent aroma and heat. There is a great herb with health benefits that I would like to recommend, it’s called shiso (Perilla).
Shiso is one of the most commonly used herbs in Japanese cooking. You often see shiso with sashimi. It helps to keep the fish fresh and to help eliminate the fishy smell. Shiso is not only used to remove odour but it is a side dish and an essential condiment in Japanese cuisine.
Types of shiso
There are basically two types of shiso: green and red. Red shiso is usually used to dye plums red to make umeboshi (pickled plums) and other pickles, but not much else.
Green shiso is used in cooking. Shiso is a herb with great nutrition, it contains a lot of calcium, iron, and vitamins. It’s widely used in traditional Asian medicine and it provides several essential nutrients. Shiso is primarily used for its expectorant and stomachic qualities. Also, it is used for a variety of conditions related to the respiratory system like asthma, and congestion from allergies and colds.
Shiso is said to relieve stress and restore mental alertness and focus too. The natural vitamins and minerals also helps improve the condition of the skin and delay aging. Despite its use as a medicine, it’s used in many Japanese dishes such as pastas, tempura, and toppings for many things. It is especially good with meat. You can put shiso in katsu with cheese, and serve it with yakitori.
How to keep shiso fresh?
To keep shiso fresh; prepare a jar, put some water in to cover the stem of the leaf. Before you put it in the jar, wash the leaves so you don’t have to wash shiso right before you use. Then keep it in the fridge.
This way you can keep it fresh for about 2 weeks. You can also keep shisho in the fridge with freezer bag but don't forget to wrap the stem with wet tissue / wet news paper.
Now you know how to keep it fresh, you are ready to try shiso!
Chicken meatballs with shiso
300g of minced chicken or pork.
12 shiso leavs
15ml of soy sauce
30ml of sake
Mix the miced meat, soy sauce, sake, and ginger paste together and roll into meatballs and stir fry.
Then wrap them with shiso leaves. You could put them on the yakitori sticks too.
Chicken katsu with shiso cheese for 2
2 chicken breasts
4 shiso leavs
1 egg (to cover with panko)
Flour and panko
Cut the chicken breasts open and stuff with cheese and shiso. Dust the chicken breast in flour,then cover with panko and fry.