I’ve never seen Ming Tsai on TV before so when I happened to flip to PBS and saw that his ingredient of the day was shiso leaf, I tuned in. Perilla, or shiso leaf to the Japanese, is a member of the mint family. There’s no mistaking that after you take a bite. It has a nice kick to it that’s why it’s perfect as a palate cleanser after a few pieces of sushi. What I like to do when I’m at a Japanese restaurant is to ask the sushi chef to make me a small shiso leaf maki after my omakase meal. It ends the night with a piece of rice and a bright taste in my mouth.
about 30 pieces of shiso leaves
1 tbsp ginger, peeled, minced
1 tsp sugar
salt and pepper
1. Prepare an ice bath in a small bowl in the sink. Boil some water in a pot with a lot of salt. Blanch shiso leaves in boiling water for 1 minute and immediately remove to the ice bath. Squeeze in a ball and cut in smaller pieces.
2. Put shiso leaves in a blender with the ginger, sugar and a little bit of salt and pepper. Blend while slowly drizzling a little bit of grapeseed oil into the mix. Season to taste. Use for shiso-wrapped tempura prawns or shiso-marinated beef stir-fry.