Picante Perilla “Salsa”

Preparation info

  • Makes about ⅔ cup , to serve


    as a main-dish complement to starches
    • Difficulty


Appears in

Vegetables from Amaranth to Zucchini

By Elizabeth Schneider

Published 2001

  • About

This garlicky, hot, and aromatic condiment can serve as seasoning or side dish, at room temperature or chilled. Toss the bracing chrysanthemum-like greens with warm short-grain brown rice, bulgur, or with cold soba noodles. Or sprinkle over roasted or grilled seafood, beef, or pork, to jazz up a simple meal.


  • 1 hearty bunch green perilla (6 to 7 ounces)
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon chilli flakes
  • ½ tablespoon peanut oil
  • ½ tablespoon Asian (dark) sesame oil
  • ½ tablespoon shoyu (Japanese soy sauce)
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar


    1. Trim off base of perilla stems, leaving about 3 inches of upper stalk and the leafy tops. Dunk greens into plenty of water and lift out gently so debris sinks. Nip off and thin-slice enough leaves to yield 3 tablespoons; reserve.
    2. Drop perilla into a large pot of boiling salted water. Return to a boil over highest heat and boil until leaves just lose their raw bite but are still intensely aromatic, about 1 minute. Drain, run under cold water and drain again. Press dry. Slice thin and put in a serving dish.
    3. Crush garlic, salt, and chilli to a paste. Combine with peanut oil in tiny skillet over low heat. Stir often until garlic barely begins to color and oil is orangy—a few minutes. Off heat, stir in sesame oil, shoyu, and vinegar.
    4. Mix dressing with cooked leaves and reserved raw strips, tossing well. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

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