Korean Perilla Leaf (Ggaennip) Kimchi

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Korean Perilla Leaf (Ggaennip) Kimchi

From the Money Saving Recipes Series

perilla leaves

Perilla Magilla-Leaves, color and textureChristine Majul CC 2.0

Aren’t these colorful leaves just gorgeous?

Korean Perilla Leaf (Ggaennip) Kimchi is so good but a bit difficult to describe.  You are literally eating leaves that have been seasoned with a kimchi paste.  You eat it with the stem and basically wrap the leaf around the sticky rice in a bowl and get it all down in one bite.

We don’t eat a whole lot of leafy foods, at least not entirely whole but this leaf has such a wonderful flavor that it’s hard to resist.  If you don’t like it as a kimchi you can also wrap your Korean BBQ meats like Bulgogi, Kalbi or Samgyeopsal in the leaves.

According to Wikipedia – Perilla is the common name for a herb of the mint family, Lamiaceae. Though known to several cultures by different names, the disparate varieties are now classified under the single species Perilla frutescens.

Cans of pickled ggaennip can be found in Korean grocery stores all over the world, with some ground red pepper between every two leaves in the can. The leaves’ essential oils provide their strong taste. Fresh leaves have an aroma reminiscent of apples and mint, and are eaten in salad dishes and with roasted meat. The flavor is distinct from Japanese perilla, and the leaf appearance is different, as well – larger, rounder, flatter, with a less serrated edge, and often a violet coloring on the reverse side.

Ingredients to make Korean Perilla Leaf (Ggaennip) Kimchi

80 Perilla leaves (usually found in asian specialty stores)

1/2 cup red pepper powder

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/3 cup green onions (about 1 stalk, chopped)

1/4 cup shredded carrot

2 tbsp sugar or honey

3 cloves garlic, minced finely

1/2 tsp finely minced ginger

1 medium yellow onion, sliced thinly

Thoroughly wash and dry the perilla leaves and stack them with all of the stems facing up.  You will then need to separate these into stacks of ten.  You will store them in their container in stacks of ten, alternating directions, with all of the stems at the top.

Doing this stacking method makes it easier when retrieving it to eat later.  I suggest using a square two quart or larger storage container for this recipe.

The leaves will need to remain flat because they wilt as soon as the soy sauce and vinegar make contact with them.  If you throw them into the container without stacking then you are essentially going to have to dig them out when ready to eat later and that makes for one messy and ugly presentation.

Korean Perilla Leaf (Ggaennip) Kimchi

In a large bowl mix the red pepper powder, soy sauce, green onions, carrots, onion, sugar (or honey), minced garlic and ginger until well combined.  This will become your Korean Perilla Leaf (Ggaennip) Kimchi sauce that will flavor the entire batch.

Take one stack of leaves (should contain ten leaves in each stack) and thinly spread some kimchi sauce on one side.  Use disposable lunch lady gloves to avoid touching the spicy kimchi sauce if you prefer.  After spreading the kimchi sauce on one side of the first leaf, turn it over gently and spread a thin layer of kimchi sauce on the other side.

Place another leaf on top and thinly spread kimchi sauce on the top side only.  It will seem like it’s hardly enough kimchi sauce to cover and flavor the leaves but it will be more than enough because the leaves and vegetables will give off liquid once wilted.

Once you stack your ten leaves, pick up another stack of ten, and start the process over again, except make sure to face the stems in another direction.  Most people will eat between 5-10 leaves per meal so you want to make sure to stack these according to how many you will eat.

Once you have coated and stacked all of the leaves with kimchi sauce cover and store in the refrigerator for one week before eating.  It takes time for the leaves to ferment and for the flavors to set in and taste just right.

Keep in mind that fermentation takes time and it will take a bit more time when the kimchi sits in the fridge.  I do not recommend leaving this kimchi out at room temperature to ferment as the leaves could easily form mold and that wouldn’t be good!

Fermentation of vegetables has numerous health benefits and are especially good for our gut.  See what experts, trained doctors and nutritionists have to say about it here in this article Why Your Gut Flora Powerfully Dictates Whether You’re Healthy or Sick found on Mercola.com.

Read up on the benefits of eating fermented foods with the article Fermented Food: Benefits of Lactic Acid Fermentation found on the Nourished Kitchen Blog.

Eating fresh fruits and vegetables are beneficial all around but spicing things up and using tasty ingredients makes eating your nutrients so much more enjoyable!  I hope you enjoy my Korean Perilla Leaf (Ggaennip) Kimchi Recipe!

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