Aojiso Perilla frutescens crispa fo. viridi-crispa
Akajiso Perilla frutescens purpurea Makino (flat leaves) and Perilla frutescens purpurea crispa (crinkled leaves)
Katamenjiso Perilla frutescens crispa fo. discolor
There is an old Chinese tale from the late 2nd/early 3rd century behind the name shiso. A young man who was dying from food poisoning after having eaten too much crab was given a purple-colored decoction remedy by Hua Tuo (?-208), a legendary doctor who happened to pass by, and the man quickly recovered his health. After this episode, people started to call the plant shiso, which means “purple (plant) that revives life” in Chinese characters.
Based on this episode, it is believed that purple perilla is older than green perilla, and purple perilla had been used for medicinal remedies for centuries. Regardless of color, perilla has a distinctive aroma. It comes from perillaldehyde, which promotes stomach fluids and increases appetite. The substance also has an antiseptic function and is effective to prevent food poisoning (and thus often accompanies sashimi). Rich in beta carotene (11000 μg/100 g), it also contains a fair amount of calcium (230 mg/100 g), iron, potassium, fiber, and Vitamins B1, B2 and C. Rosmarinic acid in perilla leaves and luteolin (flavone) in fruit also helps to prevent allergies.
Shiso, especially aojiso green perilla, appears quite often at the table in summer. Its refreshing note and aroma are perfect companions for tofu and cold somen noodles. It is also found as an ingredient in tempura and many other dishes to which herbs are added. At our table, it is an indispensable ingredient in temakizushi or hand-rolled sushi. Many people in Japan use aojiso as a basil substitute for an instant makeover of western dishes into something Japanese.
Akajiso purple perilla is traditionally is used for coloring pickles, including umeboshi, and as furikake topping for rice. In recent years, akajiso has made a comeback as a ruby-colored health tonic in Japan.
Shiso fruits (shiso no mi) are also used to make pickles.
Shiso leaves: 37 kcal/100 g; 86.7% water, 3.9% protein, 0.1% fat, 7.5% carbohydrate, 1.7% ash
Recipes with shiso
- Tomorokoshi gohan / steamed rice with corn
- Hiyajiru / steamed barley rice with cold sesame-miso soup with cucumber and grilled fish
- Fubaagu no shisomaki / small gluten cake burgers wrapped with perilla leaves
- Shisozu / perilla-infused vinegar
- Shiso soosu / green perilla sauce
- Nasu no hisui somen / eggplant jade noodles
- Hiyayakko / chilled soft tofu with condiments
- Yakinasu-iri nyumen / warm somen noodles and grilled eggplant in broth
- Shiso no mi no shiozuke (aojiso) / salted green perilla fruits
- Hanaho to kobashira no kakiage / mixed tempura with perilla flower spikes and bay scallops
- Akajiso shiroppu, juusu & kakuteru / purple perilla leaf syrup, juice & cocktail
- Akajiso no furikake / purple perilla leaf topping for steamed rice
- Sakana no sotee, ume-shiso soosu / fish saute with plum-perilla sauce
- Nukuyakko, hanaho to jako no irini-zoe / warm tofu topped with saute-simmered perilla flowers and young dried sardines in broth
- Shirasu to shiso no mazegohan / steamed rice with young dried sardines and perilla leaves
- Shiso to sakura ebi no tamagoyaki / omelet with perilla leaves and dried shrimp
- Temakizushi / hand-rolled sushi
- Kyuri no shiomomi, shiso iri / Japanese cucumber instant pickle, with green perilla leaf
Try shiso in the following recipes
- Kuzukiri to daikon, kani no sarada / kudzu arrowroot starch noodle, daikon radish and crabmeat salad, with citrus-flavored soy sauce dressing
- Petoraaru karei no kankoku-fu pirikara-ni / braised petrale sole in mildly spicy sauce, Korean style
- Tsukune no teriyaki / grilled chicken meatballs with teriyaki sauce
(Last updated: August 28, 2016)