I am enchanted with the minty aroma of shiso. Did you know there is a red shiso and a green shiso? The green shiso is often served as a garnish for sashimi. If you find it on your plate, often as a backdrop to sliced raw fish, then be sure to eat it. If not by wrapping a slice of sashimi with it, then by using it to pick up the julienned daikon and eat as a palate cleanser between sashimi bites.
Red shiso is used not for its flavor, but more for its color. Red umeboshi get their bright color from red shiso and the leaves can be dried, pulverized, and mixed with salt for a dark purple furikake called Yukari. I happen to love Yukari.
Shiso juice is made from red and green shiso. The green shiso helps to add the unmistakeable aromatic notes that is shiso, as the red provides color and is not rich on the nose. This colorful juice is sweet and tart and the perfect afternoon drink on a hot day or a refreshing aperitif before a meal. It’s a breeze to make and I only regret not making more of it.
300 grams shiso leaves (mix of red and green)
2.2 liters water
25 grams citric acid (kuensan クエン酸)
200 grams sugar
Remove the leaves from the stem of the plant. Rinse three to four times in water or until it is rid of dirt.
In a large pot, bring 2.2 liters water to a boil. Add a large amount of washed shiso leaves, about 1/3 of the batch, and cook for up to one minute. Any more than a minute and bitter notes will come from the leaves. Remove the leaves and set aside. This process will be repeated until all of the leaves have been cooked.
The red leaves will lose their color when it hits the hot water. This is normal.
Strain the hot shiso water through sarashi (cheesecloth) as there may be some more dirt.
Add the sugar to the mixture and stir until it dissolves completely.
Now, comes the fun part. Add the citric acid and watch the color change from a rusty red to an intense pink. Check out the colors in the photo above.
Allow the juice to cool to room temperature before putting it in bottles for storage. The juice will keep for up to one year in the refrigerator.
Serve over ice.
akajiso 赤じそ red shiso
shiso しそ shiso
kuensan クエン酸 citric acid