Perilla leaves are similar to shiso but larger with a more delicate cinnamon flavor. They are grown abundantly in Korea, sometimes called a beefsteak plant, and can typically be found in the produce section of Asian markets with other herbs. At his pop-up Young Mother in Richmond, Virginia, chef Daniel Harthausen uses this dish as one of many to make his mark on what it means to be a Korean American.
Serves 6 to 8
20 to 30 perilla leaves
1 cup mirin
1 cup sake
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 Fresno pepper, thinly sliced
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon gochugaru (or red chili flakes)
1 cup light soy sauce (Harthausen usesYamasa)
1 cup dashi or water
1 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
½ cup of honey
1 teaspoon salt
1 bay leaf
Toasted sesame seeds for garnish
Crushed and toasted pine nuts for garnish
Steamed white rice for servin
1. Holding leaves by the stem, wash them under cold water. Shake to remove excess water, then place between two paper towels and set aside
2. In a medium pot, combine mirin, sake, garlic, Fresno, shallot, and chili flake. Place over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Let simmer for 5 minutes to evaporate the alcohol.
3. Add soy sauce, dashi or water, rice vinegar, and honey to pot and bring the mixture back to a simmer. Stir in salt, bay leaf, and peppercorns.
4. In a glass container with a tight-fitting lid, place one leaf at the bottom and spoon the liquid mixture from the pot (still simmering) over top; try to get some of the pieces of shallot, garlic, and Fresno with each layer. Repeat this process until every leaf is added to the glass container. (It helps to stack the stems all on the same side.)
5. Cover the container and refrigerate overnight.
6. To serve, spread leaves out on a plate and garnish with sesame seeds and pine nuts. Serve with a bowl of steamed white rice, using leaves a wrap for the rice