20 Recipes With Shiso: Get The Most Out Of The Herb

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Shiso recipes

Shiso (しそ, 紫蘇) is the most popular culinary herb used in Japanese cuisine and is considered one of its seven main flavorings. Its flavor is bright and fresh, with sharp aromatic notes.

There are a multitude of recipes that use shiso to impart flavor or color, including desserts; infusions in syrup, oil, vinegar or tea; wraps; salad dressings and seasonings; or fried tempura.

Green shiso is often compared to mint and basil, whereas red or purple shiso is stronger and slightly bitter.

Below you’ll find the top 20 recipes with shiso.

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1. Shiso gelee

Shiso gelee, also known as shiso gel or shiso jelly, is a dessert made from syrup infused with red shiso leaves and set with gelatin.

Red shiso jelly has a unique taste that can be described as mildly minty, earthy, and citrusy with a slightly astringent and bitter finish. It has a vibrantly red color.

2. Shiso sorbet

Shiso sorbet, or shiso granita is a dessert or palate-cleanser made from a frozen, churned syrup that has been infused with either red or green shiso leaves.

Shiso sorbet is extremely refreshing, with an astringent, clean, herbaceous and citrusy shiso flavor.

3. Shiso ice cream

Shiso ice cream is made from sweetened cream , that is frozen and then churned with blended or chopped red or green shiso.

Like shiso sorbet, it has a very refreshing and herbaceous flavor, but with a creamier texture from the addition of dairy.

4. Tempura shiso

Tempura is a liquid batter in which vegetables or seafood are dipped and deep fried. It is common to include whole green shiso leaves in a tempura platter.

The tempura coating is light and crispy. The flavor of the shiso shines through, and is slightly intensified by the heat.

5. Shiso and soy sauce dressing

Shiso dressing is a salad dressing containing shiso and soy sauce. The green, finely chopped shiso leaves are mixed with oil, vinegar and soy sauce to create a versatile salad dressing.

The taste is punchy and bold, with the sharp pepperiness of the shiso leaves combining with the rice vinegar to deliver a strong flavor.

6. Yukari furikake seasoning

Yukari is a seasoning that is made with red shiso and salt flakes. Furikake means seasoning for rice; yukari shiso is a type of furiyaki. It is made by simply drying red shiso leaves, processing them into a powder and mixing with salt.

When sprinkled over rice, yukari adds a salty, slightly citric note, and a bright purply-red color.

7. Shiso tea

Shiso tea can be made by simply pouring boiling water over red or green shiso leaves, and leaving to steep and infuse the water with their color and flavor.

Shiso tea is a refreshing shiso drink with herbaceous and slightly citric notes. It can be sweetened with honey, sharpened with lemon juice and served either hot or cold.

8. Shiso pesto

Shiso pesto is a paste made from blending green shiso leaves with pecorino, olive oil and lime juice.

It has the bright, fresh flavor of raw shiso, made richer with the addition of oil and pecorino cheese.

9. Uni pasta with shiso pesto

Uni pasta with shiso pesto is a Japanese-Italian fusion dish, made by combining cooked pasta with shiso paste and topping with uni “tongues” which are parts of a sea urchin.

Uni has a rich, buttery, umami flavor, which combines very well with the refreshing green taste from the shiso pesto.

10. Shiso maki

Maki means a wrap or a roll: shiso maki just means something that has been wrapped or rolled in a green shiso leaf, usually before being fried. There are different types of filling, including ones with miso, ginger, eggplant, sesame and peanuts.

The flavor will depend on the filling and is usually salty-sweet, but the shiso leaf imparts a fragrant herbal aroma.

11. Shiso oil

Shiso oil is made by blending blanched green shiso leaves with minced ginger, sugar, and oil.

It has a spicy, fresh, green taste and can be used as a dip for tempura or included in a marinade for beef.

12. Shiso vinegar

Shiso vinegar can be bought in the shops, but it can also be homemade by infusing vinegar with red or purple shiso leaves.

The flavor of the vinegar becomes herbal and slightly astringent, and the red shiso also gives it a deep pink color.

13. Shiso miso

Shiso miso, or shiso paste is very simply made by mixing chopped green shiso leaves with white miso.

It is typically used to finish dishes, and gives the deep umami flavor of miso along with the fragrant citric and herbal notes of shiso.

14. Miso soup with shiso

Miso soup with shiso is made by using shiso miso to make the soup, instead of regular miso.

It has all of the rich and warming flavor of miso soup and the shiso adds an extra bright, fresh taste alongside.

15. Shiso butter

Shiso butter is made with red or purple shiso leaves, which are finely chopped along with sushi ginger and mixed with butter and sometimes tamari.

It has a spicy, rich and aromatic flavor which can be melted over grilled corn or beefsteak.

16. Shiso pork

Shiso pork is a dish of sliced pork that is stir-fried with chopped shiso leaves, soy sauce, sesame oil and mirin.

It has a strong, fresh, peppery flavor, with a savory sauce that goes well with rice.

17. Shiso onigiri

Onigiri are Japanese rice balls, stuffed with a flavoring and wrapped or rolled. Green shiso leaves can be used to wrap onigiri, to add flavor and to stop the rice ball from becoming too sticky.

Shiso leaves give onigiri a lighter, fresher flavor and add a herbaceous note.

18. Ume shiso chicken

Ume shiso chicken is made by frying chicken pieces in oil, along with sliced green shiso leaves, umeboshi, wasabi, ponzu and sesame.

It has a savory and citrus flavor, thanks to the ponzu, umeboshi and shiso leaves, and a sharp note from the wasabi.

19. Shiso lemonade

Shiso lemonade or shiso soda is a refreshing beverage that is made by mixing red shiso syrup with soda water or lemonade.

This shiso drink is fizzy, with a bright pink color and sweet, fresh flavor.

20. Marinated shiso leaves

Marinated shiso leaves are whole, green shiso leaves that are marinated for some minutes in a blend of soy sauce and other flavors, such as garlic and sesame.

They retain the fresh, green flavor of shiso, but also have rich umami taste from the soy sauce, and fragrance from other flavors.

Are recipes for green shiso different from red or purple?

Yes, green shiso and red shiso are used distinctly in recipes due to their different flavor profiles.

Green shiso is usually used raw or very lightly cooked to maximize its bright fresh flavor. Red shiso is more often used in cooked or heated infusions and shiso tincture.

How do you eat shiso?

Shiso can be eaten either raw or cooked in a number of different ways.

The leaves of green shiso can be eaten raw as a salad or garnish, used to wrap sushi, stir-fried, eaten in tempura or stirred into soups.

Other ways of cooking with shiso include infusing vinegar or syrup with red shiso leaves.

What does shiso pair with?

Shiso pairs well with many flavors. It can be used to season meat, seafood or vegetables as well as being enjoyed alone in tempura or in a dessert. It is also used as a seasoning for carbohydrate staples, like pasta and rice, and to add extra flavor to stir-fry dishes.

What flavors go well with shiso?

Flavors that go well with shiso include citrus fruits, especially limes. Shiso has a bright, fresh, vegetal flavor with citric notes, and lime can add to the crispness of that taste. Lime juice will sharpen the acidity of shiso and lime zest brings out the fragrance of shiso.

How do you use shiso paste?

Shiso paste can refer either to a shiso miso mix or to a shiso-ume mix. 

Shiso miso is used to finish dishes with a savory, fresh flavor, such as miso soup, or simply used as a rice topping. Shiso-ume is a mix of pickled plums and red shiso. It can be used to season pasta, rice, or protein dishes like stir fried chicken.

In what ways can you use shiso syrup juice?

Shiso syrup juice can be used to add a bright red color and/or shiso flavor to sweet food and beverages. It is often used to make shiso drinks, such as shiso lemonade or shiso soda, or for shiso desserts, like shiso jelly and shiso sorbet.

Check out our new cookbook

Bitemybun's family recipes with complete meal planner and recipe guide.

Try it out for free with Kindle Unlimited:

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Caroline first opened the doors to her own apartment in Berlin to guests, which was soon sold out. She then became the head chef of Muse Berlin, Prenzlauer Berg, for eight years, renowned for “international comfort food.”