|perilla growing in Gimpo|
Perilla frutescens, commonly called perilla or Korean perilla, is a species of Perilla in the mint family Lamiaceae. It is an annual plant native to Southeast Asia and Indian highlands, and is traditionally grown in the Korean peninsula, Southern China, Japan and India as a crop. An edible plant, perilla is a very attractive plant for the garden and attracts butterflies. It is an aromatic plant with a strong minty smell. Various perilla varieties are traditionally used by local people, the leaves are used as a vegetable and the seeds supply nutritious cooking oil. A variety of this plant, P. frutescens var. crispa or “shiso”, is widely grown and is one of the most popular garnishes in Japan, used as an antidote for ﬁsh and crab meat allergy or as a food colorant. In the United States, perilla is a weed pest, toxic to cattle after ingestion.
Along with other plants in the genus Perilla, the plant is commonly called “perilla”. It is also referred to as “Korean perilla”, due to its extensive cultivation in Korea and use in Korean cuisine. In Korean, the name kkae (깨) refers to both the plant and the seed of sesame and perilla. Sesame is called chamkkae (참깨; literally “true kkae“), while perilla is called deulkkae (들깨; literally “wild kkae“). Because of this, deulkkae is sometimes mistranslated as “wild sesame”. It is called egoma in Japanese, and sūzi or zĭsū in Chinese.
The leaves are called “perilla”, “perilla leaves”, or “Korean perilla leaves” in English, and kkaennip (깻잎; literally “kkae leaf”) in Korean. It is called sūyè or sūziyè in Chinese.
In the USA, where the plant has become a weed, the plant is known by many names such as perilla mint, beefsteak plant, purple perilla, Chinese basil, wild basil, blueweed, Joseph’s coat, wild coleus and rattlesnake weed.
- P. frutescens (var. frutescens) – called Korean perilla or deulkkae.
- P. frutescens var. crispa – also called shiso or tía tô.
- P. frutescens var. hirtella – also called lemon perilla.
The leaves are opposite, 7–12 centimetres (2.8–4.7 in) long and 5–8 centimetres (2.0–3.1 in) wide, with a broad oval shape, pointy ends, serrated(saw-toothed) margins, and long leafstalks. The leaves are green with occasional touches of purple on the underside.
The flowers bloom on racemes at the end of branches and the main stalk in late summer. The calyx, 3–4 millimetres (0.12–0.16 in) long, consist of upper three sepals and the hairy lower two. The corolla is 4–5 millimetres (0.16–0.20 in) long with its lower lip longer than the upper. Two of the four stamens are long.
The fruit is a schizocarp, 2 millimetres (0.079 in) in diameter, and with reticulate pattern on the outside. Perilla seeds can be soft or hard, being white, grey, brown, and dark brown in colour and globular in shape. 1000 seeds weigh about 4 grams (0.14 oz). Perilla seeds contain about 38-45% lipid.
In its natural state, the yield of perilla leaves and seeds is not high. If the stem is cut about 5 centimetres (2.0 in) above ground level in summer, a new stalk grows and it produces more fruit. Leaves can be harvested from the stem cut off in the summer, as well as from the new stalk and its branches, throughout summer and autumn. The seeds are harvested in autumn when the fruits are ripe. To collect perilla seeds, the whole plant is harvested and the seeds are beat out of the plant, before being spread for sun drying.
Chemical components and toxicity
Various perilla varieties are traditionally used in Southeast Asia. Leaves of P. frutescens are used as a vegetable. P. frutescens var. crispa is more often used than var. frutescens in China for its supposed medicinal properties, this variety being further differentiated by different leaf and stem colors, which vary from green to red to purple, indicating the presence of anthocyanins. Characteristic aroma-active compounds in perilla leaves include perilla ketone, egoma ketone, and isoegoma ketone. Other compounds include perillaldehyde, limonene, linalool, beta-caryophyllene, menthol, and alpha-pinene.
Although perilla is widely cultivated as an edible and medicinal plant for humans, the plant is toxic to cattle and other ruminants, as well as horses. The plant contains ketones that cause acute respiratory distress syndrome in grazing cattle, also called “panting disease”.
Perilla seeds are rich in dietary fiber and dietary minerals such as calcium, iron, niacin, protein, and thiamine. Perilla leaves are also rich in dietary fiber and dietary minerals, such as calcium, iron, potassium, and vitamins A, C and riboflavin.
In Manchu cuisine, perilla leaves are used to make efen, “steamed bun”). The perilla buns are made with glutinous sorghum or glutinous rice flour dough filled with red bean paste and wrapped with perilla leaves. The dish is related to Food Extermination Day, a traditional Manchu holiday celebrated on every 26th day of the 8th month of the lunar calendar.
In India, perilla is called silam, thoiding (Meitei), chhawhchhi (Mizo) and bhangira in
Kumaon. Perilla seeds are roasted and ground with salt, chilis, and tomatoes to make a savoury side dish or chutney.
In Kumaon the seeds of Bhangira (cultivated Perilla) are eaten raw, the seed oil is used for cooking purposes, and the oil cake is consumed raw or fed to cattle. The roasted seeds are also ground to prepare a spicy chutney. The seeds and leaves of Perilla are also used for flavoring curries. Manipuri cuisine uses the ground roasted seed in a salad locally known as ‘singju’.
In Japan, the plant is called egoma and is of limited culinary importance. It is known regionally as jūnen; “ten years”) in the Northeast regions of Japan, supposedly because it adds this many years to one’s lifespan. A local preparation in Fukushima Prefecture, called shingorō, consists of half-pounded non-glutinous rice patties, which are skewered, smeared with miso, blended with roasted and ground jūnen seeds, and roasted over charcoal.
In Korean cuisine, kkaennip or perilla leaves are widely used as a herb and a vegetable. Kkaennip can be used fresh as a ssam vegetable, fresh or blanched as a namul vegetable, or pickled in soy sauce or soybean paste to make jangajji (pickle) or kimchi.
Deulkkae, the perilla seeds, are either toasted and grounded into powder called deulkkae-garu or toasted and pressed to make perilla oil. Toasted deulkkae powder is used as a spice and a condiment for guk (soup), namul (seasoned vegetable dishes), guksu (noodle dishes), kimchi, and eomuk (fishcake). It is also used as gomul (coating or topping) for desserts: Yeot and several tteok (rice cake) varieties can be coated with toasted perilla powder. Perilla oil made from toasted perilla seeds is used as a cooking oil and as a condiment.
In Korean-style western food, perilla leaves are sometimes used to substitute basil, and the seed powder and oil is used in salad dressings as well as in dipping sauces. A Michelin-starred restaurant in Seoul serves nutty vanilla ice cream whose secret ingredient is perilla oil.
Kkaennip (perilla leaves) as a ssam (wrap) vegetable
Kkaennip stir-fried in perilla oil
Kkaennip-jeon (pan-fried perilla leaves)
Kkaennip-bugak (deep-fried perilla leaves)
Kkaennip-jangajji (pickled perilla leaves)
Kkaennip-kimchi (perilla leaf kimchi)
Gamja-ongsimi (potato dough soup) boiled with deulkkae powder
Goguma-sun-deulkkae-muchim (sweet potato stems seasoned with deulkkae powder)
In Nepal, perilla is called silam (सिलाम). Perilla seeds are roasted and ground with salt, chilis, and tomatoes to make a savoury dip/side dish or chutney.
Having a distinctive nutty aroma and taste, the oil pressed from the toasted perilla seeds is used as a flavor enhancer, condiment, and a cooking oil in Korean cuisine. The press cake remaining after pressing perilla oil can be used as natural fertilizer or animal feed.
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