A quick and delicious side dish you can make with summer’s abundant perilla leaves.
This steamed perilla leaf side dish (kkaennip jjim, 깻잎찜) is a summer favorite! While pickled kkaennip is a staple side dish all year around, this dish is enjoyed in the summer when fresh perilla leaves are plentiful. It’s one of those dishes that brings back memories of my childhood summertime meals that were made with lots of fresh vegetables.
Growing up, my mother would lightly season fragrant perilla leaves with a simple mixture of seasonings. It was one of my favorite summer side dishes. Briefly steaming mellows the taste of this strong flavored vegetable while keeping the freshness of the leaves. If you find fresh perilla leaves a bit too strong, try this steamed version.
Once you clean the leaves, it only takes a few minutes to put the sauce together and steam the leaves either over the stovetop or in the microwave. I made it quite spicy here, but you can always reduce the amount of gochugaru or omit it entirely to make the dish mild.
The key is not to overcook the perilla leaves. You need to cook just enough for perilla leaves to wilt slightly. By doing this, you can keep the beautiful green hue of perilla leaves and enjoy the fresh and tender leaves.
Pick up a leaf with chopsticks and wrap a bit of warm rice in it and enjoy. It will surely perk up your appetite!
More recipes with perilla leaves
Kkaennip Jjim (Steamed Perilla Leaves)
- 25 to 30 perilla leaves kkaennip, 깻잎
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon Korean red chili pepper flakes gochugaru (I used 2 tablespoons for the photo)
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 scallion chopped (about 2 tablespoons)
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
- 2 tablespoons water
- Wash the leaves thoroughly (especially the back sides) under running water, one leaf at a time. Hold the stems together, and shake off the excess water.
- Place them in a colander to further drain.
- Mix all the seasoning ingredients well in a small bowl.
- In a heat proof or microwave safe bowl, place 3 or 4 leaves at a time, and spread a teaspoon of the sauce all over the top leaf. Repeat the process with the remaining leaves. Rotate the location of the stem part of each batch to level the stack. Pour any remaining sauce around the leaves when all the leaves are used up.
- To steam, boil about 1-inch high water in a large enough pot to loosely fit the bowl with the perilla, and then carefully place the bowl in the pot. Cover, and steam for 2 to 3 minutes. Adding a folded paper towel at the bottom will prevent the bowl from rattling in the boiling water. Another option is to wrap the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and microwave for 2 minutes.