Do you like mind-blowing flavors?
Kkaennip jangajji – pickled perilla leaf – in my experience, is not as ubiquitous among the various pickles you will get at a Korean restaurant, despite having a really bold and unique flavor. Once I discovered the unique flavor of perilla leaf, with its hints of mint, basil, and licorice, I was hooked. With rice it’s so satisfying, as a snack and frankly even as a meal.
Grow Your Own
I can’t typically find perilla leaf – also sometimes called sesame leaf and very similar to Japanese shiso – in my immediate area, although some out of the way international and Asian markets in the Atlanta area always seem to carry it. So in the last few years I started growing it, and it is just super easy and low maintenance. I save seed now but started with these seeds, as I’ve used this company for a great variety of Korean produce I grow and I am just so pleased with the performance and germination of all of them.
Double or Half It!
I recently had a huge harvest of it so I put together this recipe for soy-sauce pickled perilla. It is exploding with flavor. If you buy or get it in smaller quantity, you can cut my recipe in half (75g or about 35-40 leaves). If you grow it then you’ll likely end up with much more; you can of course double this recipe and also check out my kkaennip kimchi recipe!
This pickle is frequently used as a wrap for rice and I love it this way. If you just want to eat the pickled perilla leaves on their own, my recipe may be a touch too salty and I’d advise cutting the soy sauce with a couple tablespoons of water.
And now let’s do this!
Shelf life: Several months refrigerated, but will begin to soften after a couple weeks
Yield: 75 leaves (allows for numerous servings)
You will need:
- Large and small mixing bowl, spoon
- Paper towels (suggested)
- Knife & cutting board
- Cups & measuring spoons
- Large glass snapware (e.g. 6 cup) or tupperware container
- 150g perilla leaves (~75 leaves)
- 1 cup Korean soy sauce
- 2 tsp gochugaru (Korean chili flakes)
- 1 TBSP minced garlic
- 1 tsp minced ginger
- 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed (55g)
- 3 green onions, thin sliced
- Optional: 1 gochu pepper, minced (or sub with 1 jalapeno or serrano according to taste)
1.) Rinse the perilla leaves well and then soak in large bowl in ice water for 10-15 minutes. Drain them well in colander and shake thoroughly. Pat dry with paper towels. They should be fairly dry but do not need to be perfectly dry.
2. Prepare all the other ingredients and combine in the smaller mixing bowl. Mix well. If you want to eat the pickles on their own without rice, you may wish to add ~2 TBSP water to the sauce mix (to taste) if you don’t want it so salty. When eaten with rice, the saltiness is well balanced.
3. Place a couple of the largest leaves on the bottom of the storage container. Cover with about 1 TBSP of the sauce mixture.
4. Continue to place around 4 leaves at a time, offsetting them somewhat but overlapping. For every few leaves, pour around 1 TBSP sauce mix and move on. You can spread the sauce with the spoon but don’t worry about coating every single part of the leaves. Continue this process until all the leaves are placed. Pour any excess sauce over the leaves, attach the lid and refrigerate. Allow the leaves to marinate for a couple days before using.