Perilla, or kkaennip, is an easy to grow plant that produces the most delicious leaves that Koreans have loved since before the Silla era in the 7th century AD. Home gardeners (including patio gardeners) grow kkaennip either from seed or buy seedlings at their local Korean grocery store in the spring and reap the rewards of a wonderful harvest all throughout late summer. As an added bonus, the seeds that drop from late season perilla plants will grow the following year mimicking a perennial. In fact, the prized Korean plant is so prolific that here in America it has come to be classified as a weed.
At about this time every year, I always welcome the multiple offers I get from friends to take piles of kaennip off their hands. Korean love to eat kkaennip both fresh as part of a lettuce wrap, as well as pickled as a banchan.
The pickled kkaennip banchan is a delicious treat that can be served with rice as a wonderful addition to any meal. In Korea, this dish is in a category of foods known as bap dodook, which means rice thief referring to its ability to make people eat way more rice than they had originally planned.
Make this kkaennip banchan today with either homegrown or store bought bunches of kkaennip. It will keep in the refrigerator for weeks.
Pickled Kkaennip Banchan
- 35 Kkaennip leaves (perilla leaves) (Washed and patted dry)
- 1/2 Cup Low Sodium Soy Sauce
- 2 Tablespoon Water
- 1 Teaspoon Gochugaru
- 1/2 Teaspoon Garlic Minced
- 2 Tablespoons Sugar
- 1 Scallion Finely Chopped
- 2 Tablespoons Red Chilies Finely Chopped (Optional)
Mix the sauce ingredients together, then spoon the sauce over the leaves one by one in a glass container with lid. Pour leftover sauce on top of the leaves.
Cover the container and let the marinade seep through the leaves overnight in the refrigerator.
Enjoy with rice! This banchan will keep for several weeks in the refrigerator.