There are some standard condiments and sauces often used in Japanese cuisine that most of you know already. If you enjoy Japanese food, you might also be aware of shiso. An herb used quite extensively in Japanese cuisine. But have you ever heard of shiso dressing? Shiso leaf is one of the components making up this uniquely flavorful dressing. While it is a common accompaniment to salads, you can use it for much more.
What is Shiso?
Shiso is a Japanese herb called perilla or Japanese mint, related to the mint family. There are two main shiso varieties — green shiso and red shiso. Green shiso is a perfect garnish or addition to salads, rice dishes, and soups to add some flavor. Red shiso is spicier but has a lighter taste and is ideal for pickling foods.
Although it’s part of the mint family, it also exhibits subtle basil and citrus flavor with a slight undertone of anise. The versatile herb can be fried, shredded, added to sauces, used as a garnish in place of parsley, served with sashimi, or added to a marinade. It is also as healthy as it is flavorful.
Health Benefit of Shiso
Shiso delivers many health benefits, so much that the leaves are often used to make a healthy tea full of antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, and allergy-fighting properties. Used as an herbal remedy in Japan for centuries, shiso also contains large amounts of iron, calcium, and Vitamin A. Additionally, shiso leaves can make an oil that can provide omega-3 fatty acids to vegans and vegetarians.
The tea can help treat asthma, arthritis, and eczema, and the many vitamins and minerals help lower the risks of some types of cancer. Shiso leaf is also a practical garnish because it has antiseptic properties that can prevent food poisoning.
What is Shiso Dressing?
Exhibiting a refreshing aroma and a flavor with hints of mint, basil, and plenty of umami, shiso dressing is a complex condiment that you can use to make much more than salad. It may be possible to find shiso dressing in some Asian supermarkets. However, to experience the full and rich flavor, you’ll want to seek an organic blend that uses quality ingredients, such as this Organic Green Shiso Dressing from Hikari Foods.
Hikari Foods carefully select each ingredient of this shiso dressing. The organic green shiso was harvested in Tokushima Prefecture. The soy sauce is made from domestically-grown, non-GMO, organic soybeans and is aged for over a year. The vinegar is also a masterful blend of organic apple and rice vinegar. Along with katsuobushi (bonito flakes) and domestically grown plum and lemon to further enhance and liven the combination of flavors, this exquisitely crafted dressing is sure to become a favorite staple in your pantry.
How to Use Shiso Dressing
One of the most popular uses for the dressing is for salads, but the bold and refreshing flavors can complement many other dishes. Try adding some to stir-fries or using the dressing to enhance grilled meats and fish.
Another popular use for shiso dressing in Japan is to pour some over hiyayakko, a cold tofu appetizer. It will also flavor crispy tofu exceptionally well and delivers a crisp kick and savory flavor to sautéed fish, shrimp, and chicken. Likewise, you can also use it as a marinade for fish and meats because it is an oil-free dressing. It neutralizes the oiliness of fried chicken and tempura while enhancing their delicious taste. When you drizzle some into simmered dishes and soups right at the end, you’ll be rewarded with an enticing aroma and a lively, refreshing dish that sings to your taste buds.
Try shiso dressing on Western dishes as well, such as pasta dishes. Make a tuna mixture by adding it generously to canned tuna and serving with spaghetti topping it with nori seaweed flakes. You can also use it to dress fish tacos or flavor meat and vegetable kabobs.
As you can see, there are various tasty possibilities when you add shiso dressing to your pantry. You simply cannot replace the unique flavors of umami-rich ingredient with any other sauces or condiments. So, you’ll want to try the real thing for yourself. Start simple by using it on a salad or in stir-fries. Then, enjoy experimenting with the dressing to see how well it works with many other foods.