Monday, July 7, 2014

Pickled Baby Perilla Leaves | Ggaeneep (깻잎)

We have perilla leaves in our garden. Wait, let me clarify, we have a lot of perilla leaves in our garden. At the end of the gardening season, these guys dry out, make seeds, and then the following year, we have fifty times as many perilla plants as the year before. It's a vicious cycle and even when we do our best to weed them out, they still pop up all over the place. My sister actually weeded recently so the garden's looking less haggard but we've still got plenty of perilla, don't you worry.

This year's abundant crop of perilla plants is still working on getting nice and big. But a little while ago when I was in the mood for some pickled perilla, the plants were still wee little babies and the leaves were really tiny. So what did I do? I picked a bunch of the baby-sized leaves and pickled them anyway. The result? A deliciously tender version of one of my favorite childhood Korean side dishes.
Ingredients:
50 to 60 baby perilla leaves (you won't find these in the store so you'll have to have your own plants or you can use 30 to 40 normal grown-up sized perilla leaves instead)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon water
½ teaspoon vinegar
¼ teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
1 teaspoon hot pepper flakes (gochugaru; this quantity can be adjusted to your spice preference)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 hot pepper, finely diced
4 to 5 chives or 1 scallion, chopped

This recipe isn't too different from my original ggaeneep post. It's just slightly altered to account for the use of the delicate baby perilla leaves. Just mix together all of the sauce ingredients - basically everything except the perilla leaves themselves.
Set up a little station with your sauce, your container, and leaves.
Start by putting a little bit of the sauce mixture in the bottom of the container. Stack on a leaf, add on a little more sauce, stack on another leaf, add a little more sauce, and continue.
Leave the leaves to pickle for just 10 to 15 minutes and then enjoy! Any leftovers can be stored in the fridge.
Serve with a bowl of yummy sticky rice. The small size of the leaves is great for me since I can't handle too much salt. It's the perfect bite! Plus, the baby leaves are much more tender and the flavor's a bit more subtle. Friggin' delicious.
Here's the recipe page:

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