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perilla and vegetable jeon (gluten-free fried dumplings)

July 3, 2012

i’m starting to really get into korean food.

i went to a korean market yesterday and tasted a little leaf of everything i’d never heard of, like dropwort (parsley-like). nothing stood out as really unique, until i got stuck on these leaves labeled as “sesame leaves”. i love sesame, but these leaves had rounded stems and toothy leaves like the mint family. tasting it, it’s even more clear – like a cross between a bitter green, mint, and nettle. they also have the slightly fuzzy, sturdy feeling of catnip.

so what’s the deal with this sesame mint? turns out the literal “translation of deulkkae (“wild sesame”) and ggaennip (“sesame leaf”) are in spite of perilla’s not being closely related to sesame” (wiki). it’s incredibly good for you, like the other mints.

tried it in a salad – it’s a little too tough and bitter. tried marinating it in a berry vinegar. good, but it brought out a bitterness. so this will be the next thing i try! i think this sounds like a winner! the pictures look great – fried packets of meat. i’ll write a veg version, but can’t try it yet – i used up all my perilla leaves!

1 cup mixed vegetables, like carrots, onions, and whatever you have
15 Perilla Leaves
¼ Cup Flour (use a gluten-free blend if you like)
Eggs
1 Tbsp Soy Sauce
½ Tbsp Sesame Oil
⅛ tsp Black Pepper

Marinate hard vegetables in cooking wine, salt, and pepper. Cook some. Or don’t. I don’t know, I haven’t made this yet. Experiment! Definitely cook vegetables like eggplant prior to filling leaves.

Combine the vegetables, 1 egg, 1 Tbsp of soy sauce, ½ Tbsp of sesame oil, and ⅛ tsp of black pepper in a mixing bowl. Mix so that all of the ingredients stick together nicely.

Rinse about 15 medium sized perilla leaves and set them aside to dry out.

On a flat plate, pour about ¼ cup of flour. Evenly flour the backside of a perilla leaf. The flour helps the mixture stick to the perilla leaf.

Spread about 1 Tbsp of mixture on one half of the floured side of the perilla leaf. About a quarter inch thickness will be good.

Fold the perilla leaf in half and cover the outer surface with flour.

In a flat bowl, break 2 large eggs and whisk them gently. Mix in 2 pinches of salt. Dip both sides of the floured perilla leaf in the egg mixture.

Fry the egg-dipped perilla leaves in a heated and generously oiled pan. Fry each side of the jeon for about 7 to 8 minutes on medium or medium-low with patience. When one side is done, flip, and fry the other side for another 7 to 8 minutes.

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recipe from here

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