Shrimp in Perilla Packets

Preparation info

  • Makes 16 hors d’oeuvres, to serve

    3 to 4

    • Difficulty


Appears in

Vegetables from Amaranth to Zucchini

By Elizabeth Schneider

Published 2001

  • About

The first mystery is what leaf wafts the exotic aroma. The second is what hides inside, like a party favor (shrimp fit the form perfectly). It would be less trouble to serve the leaves raw, as is done in Asia, but the flavor is far too fierce for most Western palates. Blanching rounds it out, while the hint of pastis (fennel- or anise-flavored aperitif) highlights the herbaceous leaves rather than adding a new note. Serve the hot morsels with a chilled rosé.


  • 1 tablespoon Ricard, Pernod, or other pastis
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon minced garlic
  • ¼ teaspoon white pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 16 small shrimp, shelled
  • 16 fairly large green perilla leaves, stems cut off


    1. In a dish, blend pastis, olive oil, garlic, pepper, salt, and lemon juice. Add shrimp and toss to coat.
    2. Spread perilla leaves in skillet or wide heatproof dish. Pour over boiling water to cover by a few inches. Lift out with slotted spoon and open each leaf flat on paper towels.
    3. Place a shrimp on each leaf to match the curve on one side. Distribute any remaining marinade among the packets. Fold each leaf over to cover the shrimp, like a turnover. If leaves are much larger than shrimp, first fold each leaf tip over the shrimp, then fold in half.
    4. Set packets in a steamer, cover, and cook 1½ minutes. Remove from heat. Skewer each packet with a toothpick. Set on a tray and serve at once.