What Is Shiso and How Is It Used?
Shiso is also called Japanese basil. As the name says, it has a very nice scent and gives accent to dishes.
In Japan, shiso is often used as a condiment. As you can see the pictures below, shredded shiso and shiso leaves are very common condiment for noodle dishes, sashimi (sliced raw fish), etc.
Moreover, it will be excellent toppings for pasta and takikomi-gohan (Japanese mixed rice).
Shiso itself is often used as a cooking ingredient too. Shiso tempura is one of the most popular shiso recipe. Also, by adding it to meat dish and salad, it makes the dish quite refreshing.
The 6 Best Shiso Substitutes
Shiso leaves are extremely delicious and useful material that you can use it as both condiment and ingredient in cooking.
Even though some Japanese food recipe require shiso leaves sometime, you may have a hard time getting it.
Here, I would like to introduce the 6 best substitutes for shiso. So, please use it as a reference!
As you may know, basil is essential material for various Italian cuisine such as pizza and pasta. This basil can be good substitute for shiso depending on the recipe.
Although it looks a little different, basil belongs to the same Labiatae family as shiso.
When using basil as a substitute for shiso, it’s recommended to use it for fried dishes such as tempura.
The reason is that the subtle differences stand out when you eat it raw. On the other hand, basil can be quite close to real shiso by heating.
Korean perilla (egoma)
The leaves of Korean perilla is often served with Korean-style grilled meat. People wrap the grilled meat with its leaves and eat it.
Because Korean perilla is also a type of perilla leaf, it can be good substitute for shiso leaves.
It has a unique flavor that is different from shiso. Although the leaves are much thicker than shiso leaves and the feel in the mouth is quite different, Korean perilla is very nutritious. So, please try to use them when you have a chance.
You can eat it raw, but I think it will be easier to eat if cooked, for instance, making tempura with Korean perilla is highly recommended.
Red perilla furikake (yukari)
Japanese-style dried seasoning is called furikake, and it’s sprinkled on the rice usually.
Yukari is one of the most popular furikake that is made from red perilla, plum, salt, and sugar.
Although this is not real leaf, yukari can be good substitute for shiso depending on the recipe.
The flavor of the yukari is absolutely amazing and is quite close to shiso flavor.
Since yukari is dried powder and a little salty, it may be difficult to use as a condiment. However, I think it goes well with pasta.
モンそーちゃん、ゆかりパスタだよ(❁´ω`❁)— 🍜🐏みー (@HitsujixRamen) April 18, 2021
辛みがあるのが好みなモンそーちゃんですが、一応OKいただきました(｡•̀㉨-)و ✧ pic.twitter.com/udceYvB8E8
Great thing about yukari is that you can keep it for about one year, while the storage period of shiso is short because it is a raw leaf.
By the way, red perilla is normally not used as it is for cooking, but it is used to add a beautiful red color to dried plums and red pickled ginger.
Pickled plum (umeboshi)
When making pickled plum, plenty of red perilla are used. That is why, the great flavor of red perilla soaks into the pickled plums, and you can use them in place of shiso.
Since the looks of pickled plum is totally different from shiso leaves, it may be difficult to add color to the dish. However, minced pickled plum can be great alternative if you are seeking for a refreshing feeling and freshness in shiso.
Please note that pickled plum has a sour taste that is not found in shiso. I think it’s great idea to make pasta with minced pickled plum and other seasonings. Also, it may be good to put it in tempura etc. as a secret ingredient.
Myoga is mainly used as condiment for various types of dishes.
Myoga is also known as Japanese ginger. It’s not as pungent as ginger, but has very unique scent.
Although this scent is totally different form shiso, you can still substitute myoga for shiso in terms of enjoying the great flavor of Japanese condiment.
Noodle dishes (especially somen noodles) and sashimi match perfectly with minced myoga.
As you all know, minced green onion is a super-convenient condiment.
Beautiful green adds color to the dish like shiso
There is no refreshing scent peculiar to shiso, and green onion has a little pungent taste. But, it’s excellent as a condiment.
When you were trying to eat sashimi with shiso, but you ran out, using minced green onion is perfect substitute. Adding minced myoga to green onion is also wonderful combination.
How was the 6 best substitutes for shiso leaves?
Each one of them is unique fragrant material that can upgrade your meal.
I hope you can find your favorite replacement for shiso in the list above.
Please enjoy tasting various types of condiment when you are making Japanese food!