What are those leaves?!

Many of you have asked what those leaves in the garden are, if they are edible…they are sesame or Korea perilla leaves, or in Korean, one would say, kkaennip, 깻잎. They are related to the smaller, shiso leaf that is found most commonly in Japanese cuisine. Sometimes Koreans will wrap barbequed meat, rice, and pepper paste in them (yes raw) – ssam, sometimes they will be deep fried in batter (like Japanese tempura), and other times you may find them amongst the side dishes as kkaennip kimchee. Here is a recipe for the latter if you are feeling adventurous:

4 bunches sesame leaves, about 40
2 cups water
1 tablespoon salt

Kimchee Sauce
1 teaspoon rice flour
1 teaspoon minced green pepper (skinny kind you will also see in our garden)
1 teaspoon mool yut (Korean corn syrup)
2 tablespoon water
2 teaspoon fish sauce
2 teaspoon coarse ground red chili pepper
1 teaspoon fine ground red chili powder
12 cloves fresh garlic
1/2 inch knob fresh ginger

Stir salt and water together until salt is dissolved.

Rinse the leaves in cold water and drain. Place in a bowl and pour brine over leaves. Let it sit out for about 1/2 hour.

Mix water and rice flour together then heat over low heat until the mixture thickens slightly. Mince or fine chop three of the garlic cloves.
Place remaining garlic, pepper, and ginger in a blender with just enough water to blend into a paste. Mix all sauce ingredients together in a small bowl and let sit for 15 minutes.

Remove the leaves from brine and shake gently to remove excess liquid.
Get a spoonful of kimchee sauce and spread a small amount on each leaf in each bunch, with a bit more sauce on the outer leaves (both top and bottom leaf). Stack the bunches in a sealable container with the tied stems facing in opposite directions.

Place any remaining kimchee sauce on top of stacked leaves. Close container and let sit at room temperature for 1 hour. Move to refrigerator and let sit for 24 to 72 hours before serving.


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