Perilla frutescens, Photo: Michael Lahanas
Perilla frutescens (L.) Britton
* Mem. Torrey Bot. Club 5:277. 1894
Perilla frutescens (Green Shiso;紫苏; Egoma syn. Perilla nankinensis (Lour.) Decne.) is an edible herb and ornamental plant in the Lamiaceae family. Its leaves are used as foods in Southern China, Japan and Korea and its seeds are used to make edible oil in Korea. Sometimes, the seeds are ground and added to soup for seasoning in Korea. It has also been used in traditional Chinese medicine for more than two thousand years.
There are red shiso and green shiso. The red shiso has red leaves and used mostly in fish stews in southern China. The green shiso is more commonly found in Korean and Japanese cusines. Koreans make pickled green shiso with red chili powder and soysauce. Japanese eats sashimi with green shiso.
Egoma and shiso are very similar plants and their seeds are difficult to distinguish even by scanning electron microscope. Their tastes, however, are quite different. Oil was extracted from egoma in many areas of Southeast and East Asia during the historical period and it is still used to cover cookies in rural areas of Korea. For centuries in Japan, egoma was also an important source of oil for oil lamps.
1. ^ Gay, Suzanne. (2009). The Lamp-Oil Merchants of Iwashimizu Shrine: Transregional Commerce in Medieval Japan. Monumenta Nipponica, 64:1, 1–51 (see p. 14).
* Pink, A. (2004). Gardening for the Million. Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation. http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/11892.
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