Inside the Spice Cabinet: Shiso

updated May 3, 2019
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Also known as Japanese basil, perilla and beefsteak, shiso has a unique aromatic fragrance and pairs well with everything from fried foods to lean sushi, and dishes with robust flavor.

What Is Shiso?

Taste: Spicy, sweet
Most Popular Use: Fish, meat, vegetables

Shiso is a member of the mint family and has large teardrop-shaped leaves with serrated edges. Have you ever had sushi that was accompanied by a fresh green leaf? Perhaps you assumed it was a garnish, like parsley, and didn’t touch it. Next time, take a piece of sashimi and wrap it around the shiso leaf and eat it – it’s quite delicious.

Shiso is also very easy to grow in a container and loves having a sunny location. There are green and purple varieties of shiso, and either one is a wonderful addition to a kitchen garden.

How To Use Shiso

Shiso leaves are found in Japanese, Korean, and Southeast Asian cushiness, and is mostly used as a wrapping or in soups and with rice. It can also be ground up into a pesto sauce and tossed with some sesame seed oil and soba noodles, or used in cocktails and tea. We also like tossing the leaves in a stir-fry.

Recipes for Cooking with Shiso