Thursday, July 26, 2018

Perilla tea and perilla rice 大葉茶と大葉ご飯

Our green perilla (a.k.a "Aojiso" 青紫蘇 and "Ooba" 大葉) is proliferating vigorously in our herb garden. Since we have so many plants and this is similar to the family of mint, my wife asked me if we can make a tea from it like mint tea. I quickly checked the Internet and found a few recipes/descriptions. The recipes are slightly different for red versus green perilla. (The red one requires acid to make the pink color to develop). I chose a recipe that specified the torn green perilla leaves should be boiled in water for 15-20 minutes with an addition of salt.  I made this green perilla tea and was surprised to find that it tasted just like "Umeboshi" 梅干し or "salted" plums.   I was not sure if this was supposed to be a drinking tea or a "health tonic". My wife tasted it and because of the umeboshi taste suggested we should make rice using this perilla tea. So I obliged and made perilla rice.  Since we got a whole Spanish mackerel the day before and I made my usual miso simmer mackerel 鯖の味噌煮 and also mackerel dumplings in a broth 鯖のつみれ汁, I served this perilla rice as an ending "shime" dish one evening.

I further fortified the perilla flavor by adding a chiffonade of green perilla and store bought "Yukari" ゆかりsalt which is made of dried red perilla and salt.

This time, I used match sticks of daikon and carrot in the mackerel dumpling soup.

The miso simmered mackerel is our favorite dish.

Ingredients for perilla tea:
20 green perilla leaves, washed and torn (amount appears to be arbitrary)
1/2 tsp salt
8 cups water

Add hand torn perilla leaves and salt to the water when it starts boiling then turn down to simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes. I let it steep until cooled to room temperature and remove the perilla leaves.

Although I did not take pictures, the resulting "tea" has a slight brown color with a strong perilla smell. We just used the perilla tea instead of water in our rice cooker to make the perilla rice. When the rice was done, it definitely smelled like perilla although the taste did not come through. By adding a chiffonade of fresh perilla leaves and "Yukari", this was a quite pleasant seasoned rice. Of course, my wife added a pat of butter to her rice to make it "better"(or maybe "butter").

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