Author Notes: While living in Japan, we were lucky enough to have numerous gracious hosts and countless good meals. One of our most memorable evenings included whisky tastings, grilled meats and seafood, and nabe. Although I didn’t partake in most of that, I was captivated by one of the appetizers. Shiso leaves swimming in a spicy sesame broth.
Don’t get uppity on me. It’s not kimchee — it’s not fermented, and there’s no cabbage. It’s probably barely kimuchi. The original recipe (that our host copied and then painstakingly translated for me) results in a paste that gets spread on the leaves (I guess our host didn’t follow the recipe either?). I kept the same ingredients, but wanted my shiso to swim. —Lindsay-Jean Hard
Serves: a few
cup soy sauce
cloves garlic, minced
tablespoon toasted sesame oil
tablespoons sesame seeds
tablespoon shichimi togarashi (seven spice powder)
shiso leaves (about 2 dozen)
thinly sliced peppers to taste (I used 2 serrano peppers)
- In a small saucepan bring the soy sauce, mirin, water, and garlic to a boil. Boil briefly, just long enough to take the edge off of the garlic.
- Remove the pan from the heat, mix in the sesame oil, sesame seeds, shichimi togarashi, and sliced peppers. Let it cool.
- Place shiso leaves in a container, add the soy sauce mixture, cover, and refrigerate. (For at least 1 hour, preferably overnight.)
- Grab your chopsticks, pluck out a leaf and enjoy. Or eat them with a bowl of rice, or put them on sandwiches (I like them on cream cheese toast).
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Photo by Lindsay-Jean Hard
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