If you like Japanese cuisine, sooner or later you will encounter a herb with many names. You've probably heard the term shiso before. Without going too deep into botany, you can say that shiso is a herbaceous annual plant. Its green or purple leaves are suitable for cooking, but also used as a medicinal plant. The botanical name is Perilla frutescens. Shiso or Egoma are the Japanese names for the labiate plant.
What shiso tastes like
Different Shiso species are also characterized by different flavors. Red shiso tastes rather strong, slightly bitter, like mint and a little anise. Green shiso can be compared to lemon balm or parsley. The taste is rather mild, with a hint of coriander.
The use of the miracle herb
Shiso plays an important role in the Asian healing arts. Various positive effects are attributed to the seeds and the oil extracted from them, which detoxify the human body. The leaves can be used to make a tea for colds or other illnesses, as the decoction has expectorant, as well as laxative and antispasmodic effects. Otherwise, of course, the delicious herb is used for various culinary surprises.
Shiso in the kitchen
In Asia, shiso is used in a variety of ways in the kitchen. The seeds are processed into oil, while the fresh leaves are eaten as a salad or garnish. In spice mixtures or as pickled leaves, dishes such as sushi, onigiri or tempura are refined with shiso. Especially fish and light meat dishes are often seasoned with green perilla in Japan, but also soups and salads. By the way, the herb is used not only because of its taste, but also because shiso is symbolic of detoxification. The healing effect of the herb already begins in the mind.
Ume and shiso belong together
The plum or apricot-like fruit, ume, is often found in Japanese alcoholic beverages. Perhaps you've encountered umeboshi? This is the name given to pickled ume, which look like prunes but have been pickled in salt and red shiso leaves. The salty and sour snack is special and considered very healthy and detoxifying in small amounts.
Shiso has many uses. Meanwhile, the plants are increasingly grown in European gardens. We are fans of the universal herb, whether fresh, pickled or dried.
MYCONBINI tip: In our assortment you will find various delicious spice blends with shiso. We especially recommend the furikake of red shiso from Mishima.