Did you know that shiso is a Japanese herb with a distinctive flavor and scent? It’s typically used as an ingredient in many dishes, such as tempura. Perilla leaves (another name for this herb) are also often featured in red shiso juice recipes. It can be hard to find the fresh ingredients for this recipe at your local grocery store, but luckily this recipe will show you how to make it from scratch!
Shiso is a plant native to Japan that has been used for centuries in cooking and medicine. It’s also commonly used to make shiso juice, which can be made with perilla leaves – the perfect companion!
I use this Japanese herb for garnishing Donburi Japanese bowl dishes, Chilled Tofu, Tempura, served with sashimi, sushi rolls, and more. You can even make syrup from it!
You are going to love this recipe for shiso juice as it is really easy to make.
What is Shiso?
Shiso is a variety of Perilla frutescens, commonly called Perilla in the mint family. Its botanical name is Perilla frutescens var. crispa and is different from the Korean Perilla leaves. They look similar but taste different.
Shiso leaf is shaped like a spade with a serrated edge, whereas Korean Perilla, also known as sesame leaves, is flatter and has a less serrated edge.
What Kind Of Varieties Of Shiso Are Available?
There are two varieties; green perilla leaves and the red/purple variety.
This is also called “Ao(blue/green)jiso” or “ōba” in Japanese. It is a popular herb in Japan and is available for purchase from supermarkets all year round, though the season is May to August in Japan.
Red or Purple Shiso
This type of shiso is also known as “Aka(red)Jiso“. As opposed to the green kind, Akajiso is not available all year round but it is available between June and July. It has more of an astringent taste than green shiso; so not suitable to eat fresh.
Why You Will Love Shiso Juice Made From Perilla Leaves
Shiso juice is a Japanese popular summer drink. This is because of its super pretty vivid pink colour and refreshing taste. It is said that shiso juice is good for those who are dieting. The rosmarinic acid contained in this herb suppresses the digestion and absorption of sugar and fat.
Also, it is believed that it prevents the rise of blood sugar. However, the syrup contains sugar so drinking too much is not a good idea. Japanese only drink this occasionally and only one small glass a day.
How To Use Shiso In Japanese Cooking
Culinary uses of green and red shiso are different.
- Green Shiso is used as a fresh herb because of its refreshing flavour and aroma.
- On the other hand, red /purple leaf is used as a natural coloring agent.
Green Shiso Recipe Ideas
Because of its’ anti-bacterial property, you may have seen it is often used to garnish Sashimi and also as a divider in Bento Box Lunch.
It is also used for
I simply cannot have Temaki Zushi without shiso!
Red/Purple Shiso Recipe Ideas
Red shiso is mainly used for adding colour to Umeboshi. Dried red/purple perilla leaves after it is used in pickling umeboshi, is known as a rice seasoning called “Yukari”.
Also, the Japanese make a summer drink shiso Juice with this herb.
Tip: The recipe is included at the end of this post!
How To Choose And Store Perilla Leaves
If your local Asian/Japanese grocery store stocks green perilla, pick the ones not shriveled and with no black spots. When it loses its freshness, black spots appear on the leaves.
Green perilla leaves are spoilt easily and become black coloured if it’s left in water. Use them as soon as possible or leave the stem part only to soak in water and keep them uplight.
Frequently Asked Questions About Shiso
Here are some of the most common questions I receive about shiso.
The green perilla leaves flavor is a cross between mint and cinnamon with a hint of cloves. The red/purple leaves have a more astringent taste than green perilla leaves. Both have a distinctive subtle aroma.
Store your homemade shiso juice or syrup in an airtight container (like a mason jar) and keep it refrigerated for up to 3 months.
Yes, it is actually pretty simple to grow your own shiso. Keep reading and I’ll share a little more information about how to do just that!
How To Grow Shiso
Although many Japanese foods are becoming more well known across the globe, some of the Japanese ingredients are still difficult to obtain.
Perilla leaves are one of them; however, it is very easy to grow!
All you need to do is sow seeds between April and May to start growing your own batch of leaves.
To do this, follow the instructions listed below:
- Soak seeds in water the day before.
- Sow seeds in seedling pots and moisten the soil.
- Pour water without covering the seed with soil.
- Leave the pots in the sun and keep watering the pots to avoid them from drying out. The seeds with germinate in about 10 days.
- When 2-3 leaves grow, thin them out except for healthy buds.
- As soon as the plant height becomes about 4 inches (10cm) with 4-6 leaves, transfer to plant in the ground where they get half sun through the day.
- When it grows about 6 inches (15 cm) tall, prune the top which encourages the plant to become bushy.
How To Make Red Shiso Juice
To properly make this Japanese summer drink, scroll down the recipe card down below for a full list of ingredients and instructions.
Trust me- you’ll want to try and make this drink. It’s absolutely delicious!
More Japanese Juice and Sauce Recipes
If you enjoyed this recipe for shiso juice, here are some more recipes you’ll enjoy next.
If you liked the post or made the shiso juice and if you liked it, please leave comments below and rate the recipe.
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- 18 oz Red/Purple Shiso leaves * 1 or 500g
- 2 cups water *2 or 500ml
- 1/2 cup sugar *3 or 100g
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar *4 or 60ml
- Prepare shiso leaves to boil. Wash and trim the shiso leaves.
- Bring the 2 cups of water to boil in a large sauce pan and add the prepared shiso leaves.
- Turn the heat down to medium heat and cook the shiso leaves for about a few minutes. The leaves colour will change from purple to a greenish colour.
- Drain the shiso leaves with a strainer and squeeze the leaves to extract as much as you can. It is hot so be careful not to burn your fingers. I used a spoon to extract all liquid.
- Place the drained liquid back to the saucepan and bring it simmer.
- Add the sugar, and when the sugar is dissolved, turn the heat off and add the apple cider vinegar.
- Cool it down and keep it in a clean bottle in a fridge. If you sterilize the container in which you keep the syrup, it will last about 6 months in the fridge.
- To make shiso juice, place 1/4 cup of the syrup into a glass and pour about 200 ml of mineral water or fizzy soda water over the top. Add ice cubes.
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