Shiso on the Rise – Shikata ga nai

With apologies for my bad Japanese, I think the phrase translates as: “it can’t be helped.” It’s commonly used to respond to something unpleasant that is beyond one’s control. It represents a willingness to accept that which is inevitable. Some might call it resignation but I think it’s more the acceptance aspect it connotes. (Mom, jump in any time here!)

shiso-and-sushi.jpg

This is my feeling every time shiso appears as in the above standard sushi plate. I have even enjoyed it in small quantities in elegant sushi preparations such at my wonderful o-makase meal at the award-winning Leather District hot spot, O Ya. Properly used, shiso adds a unique aromatic note to a dish or a cocktail. Last summer I developed a a shiso mojito recipe for a reader. Her friend had a bumper crop and offered her a bunch.

mojito.jpg

Now, one of my favorite food pages, the Los Angeles Times, announces its popularity is on the rise in restaurants all over, restaurants of various types. Shikata ga nai.

The article, An Inviting Herbal Accent, is a good introduction to those who might be less familiar with this aromatic herb. It includes a number of different uses to consider. I understand this grows very easily, just like mint. So why not try out this new Japanese import?

shiso-koenig-latimes.jpgShiso leaves also known as perilla

For great reference material on almost any herb or spice question, see Gernot Katzer’s Spice Pages.

~ by jacqueline1230 on March 3, 2008.

2 Responses to “Shiso on the Rise – Shikata ga nai”

  1. Every year I have green shiso (sometimes pronounced Chiso) come back, but red ones are less abandant,for some reason. Both are quite prolific, and forgetting it I keep saving seeds every year. One would not need to save the seeds, because you can always find one or two (or more) Shizo springing up, no problem. Japanese seem to prefer the red, but I really can’t taste the difference. In Japan, they even use the red (seeds) from the tops in dishes, and they’re wonderful Shizo in general is too aromatic for most folks’ taste here in this country, but I find several uses, such as finely chopped Shiso leaves mixed in finely shredded cabbage (for a relish dish) with rice vinegar, Mirin, and sugar. Very refreshing relish for my taste. I’d like to know the nutrition value of Shiso. Green version makes it more attractive then red ones for decorative purposes.

  2. I can’t believe you can eat shiso and not cilantro! Go figure.

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