Japanese shiso and ume (perilla herb and pickled plum) are a popular combination of flavors in Japanese cuisine and is often used in sauces or dressings. The fragrance of the perilla herb is strong, yet delicate because of the freshness of flavor that it imparts when it is combined with other ingredients and food. This fragrant combination with the powerfully tart and salty flavors of the Japanese ume pickled plum is nothing less than stellar.
- In a medium bowl add soy sauce and mirin.
- Cut the umeboshi pickled plum and remove the seed. Scrape any remaining flesh of the plum off of the seed and add it to the bowl. Mince remaining pickled plum into small pieces and add to the soy sauce.
- Chiffonade the shiso perilla leaves by stacking them, rolling them up tightly, then cutting across the rolled leaves perpendicular to the leaves. It will create long thin pieces of shiso. TIP: You may want to cut these strips in half or even smaller pieces so that when the dressing is used, small pieces of shiso are incorporated into the dish rather than a large clump of shiso leaves. The strips tend to clump together when soaked in the soy sauce mixture.
- Mix all of the ingredients together until incorporated and then allow it to rest for about 30 minutes in the refrigerator so that all the flavors mesh together and the dressing chills. If you're in a hurry, the dressing can be used immediately, or simply allowing it to rest for 5 to 10 minutes will help the flavors to meld.
- Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for 3 to 5 days.
The shiso and ume sauce recipe combines these two popular ingredients with soy sauce and mirin to create a very simple sauce with bold and interesting flavors. The sauce is best chilled when used for cold dishes, and room temperature when used for hot dishes.
Some examples of chilled dishes that go well with this shiso and ume sauce are cooked vegetables, such as spinach, bean sprouts, cabbage, or daikon. It also goes well with chilled tofu (hiyayako) or chilled somen noodles. This sauce is so versatile that it may also be used as a simple dressing to garnish simple green leaf salads or a Japanese onion salad if desired.
Examples of hot dishes that would go well with this shiso and ume sauce include simple grilled chicken breast, steamed white fish, or boiled thinly sliced Shabu-shabu style pork or beef. It will also go well with chikuwa fishcake tempura!