Shiso (Perilla)

This herb, related to basil, is popular in Japanese soups, sushi, and tempura. It is also called the beefsteak plant because of the deep red undersides of its heart-shaped leaves. Shiso is generally available all through the year, even in southern states (due to hothouse cultivation). The whole leaves are most commonly used to wrap pieces of fish, beef or pork; sprigs can be used to flavour stir-fries or to garnish dishes. It can be stored in an open plastic bag with a few sheets of paper towel (to absorb excess moisture) in the fridge, and can be kept for several days.

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