August 13, 2015

Exploding with Perilla Leaves


If one's socioeconomic status was determined by how many perilla leaves they had then I would be considered rich! 

We are exploding with these guys, even growing as tall as our enclosed backyard fence. I had to trim some so they wouldn't look so wild {although being wild and free has a nice ring to it}. 

When we first sowed perilla leaves we had no idea how fast they would grow, or how tall. They seem to be super easy to grow and maintain and they have really been thriving. 

I mostly ate perilla leaves, or kket ip in Korean, as a side whenever we had Korean pork belly BBQ. You'd take a perilla leaf and put some rice, a piece of pork belly, some sauce paste in it, wrap it and stick the whole thing in your mouth. I always make mine a little small so it'll actually fit in my mouth and be chewable at the same time. Yangkyu on the other hands like to make his really big - he's like that with everything, tacos, summer rolls, burritos. Anyway, the combination of all the flavors from the meat and the paste and the perilla leaf is really unbeatable. Some people choose to do this with lettuce. Others actually like to use both lettuce and perilla leaf. It's really depends on your preference. 

I also like perilla leaves in my kimbap with tuna. I never made them myself but always bought them at my favorite kimbap place in Flushing, NY called Nolbu Kimbap. 

Since growing them at home, Yangkyu and I have been making lots of perilla leaf kimchi. We have also been eating them straight with just rice and some ssam jang paste, included them with spicy chicken and other broiled fish, in Korean pancakes and as part of Korean side dishes made with eggs. 

One morning I thought I was being creative and put some in Yangkyu's toast with egg and ham and he didn't think it was such a good idea. Well, he said the taste was interesting, which really is his nice way of saying it didn't taste so good. 

You can also eat perilla leaves fried {along with sweet potatoes, squid, shrimp, etc.} and make another variation of perilla leaf kimchi using soy sauce. 

Yesterday we had summer rolls and I cut up some perilla leaves and they added really great flavor. We'll do this regularly from now on maybe even switching out lettuce altogether. 

I was conversing with friends on the topic of perilla leaves on Facebook and we exchanged different ways to cook them - most were conventional and tried and true ways. I was wondering if there was a blog post somewhere that had a good round up of different ways to cook with perilla leaves, even some creatives ways. I have yet to come across it. 

Are you familiar with perilla leaves? If so, how do you eat them? 

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