In Japanese cooking, there are two types of Shiso. First is the green variety, that you are probably most familiar garnishing a sashimi plate. The leaves (ohba) is used all sorts of ways, whole and salted to wrap around onigiri, chopped or shredded to top dishes, or as a garnish to platters like the aforementioned sashimi. The flower buds (hojiso) are usually salted or pickled, or added to soy sauce as as fragrant dipping sauce. while even the sprouts (mejiso) are used on dishes. My mom eats them like a rabbit, but especially loves the variety used to roll up in her favorite Vietnamese dish.
|wikipedia's picture of Shiso ohba|
Shiso is a herb of the perilla family, related to the mint. It used to be called the "beefsteak plant" in the English speaking world, but thank goodness the Japanese name is winning that war, because I think of large beefsteak tomatoes with that name, not the herb. It is broad and leafy, with a wonderful aroma and tang, kind of like a cross between basil and mint.