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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Pork and Eggplant Soup with Tomato and Shiso

This may be a soup for Fall, but that doesn't mean you can't still use Summer's bounty.

Pork and Eggplant Soup with Tomato and Shiso

Pork and Eggplant Soup with Tomato and Shiso

We've made this soup before, but we wanted to update it with a proper recipe now. It is an uncomplicated recipe, using ingredients readily available this time of year. The flavors are deep, yet have a clarity to them.

The secret to this dish is the Red Shiso, or Perilla.

Red Shiso and Eggplant

Shiso and eggplant

This herb is in the mint family, along with basil and sage. As you can see, Red Shiso is actually only red on the bottom side of the leaf. The top side remains green. Shiso is eaten in cuisines all over East Asia, from Korea to Vietnam (check out our Vietnamese Summer Rolls and Bun Rieu Cua recipes). Because of its sweet, floral essence, it is one of my favorite herbs.

A friend of ours gave us a potted Red Shiso plant, which we've been caring for in our backyard. Hopefully it will survive the winter!

Potted Red Shiso Plant

Potted Red Shiso plant

Now, on to the recipe...

Pork and Eggplant Soup with Tomato and Shiso


1 onion, sliced
1/2 lb pork, sliced thinly
4 cups water
3 or 4 tomatoes, preferably of a tart variety, chopped
1 large eggplant or 2 Chinese eggplant, chopped into 1-inch pieces
3 Teaspoons fish sauce
1 bunch red Shiso, leaves picked from the stems


In a large stock pot, saute a sliced onion until wilted.


Add in the slices of pork and stir-fry until they are browned.


Cover with water and bring to a boil. Add in the chopped tomatoes and stir to combine. (We used heirloom tomatoes from our garden.)


Stir in the chopped eggplants. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the eggplants are cooked through, about 10 minutes.


Add in the Shiso leaves and stir to combine. Add in fish sauce to taste.


Once the Shiso leaves are wilted, remove pot from heat and serve.

This is a very nice soup, with the sweetness of the onion, the tartness of the tomato, the saltiness of the fish sauce, and the fresh herbal taste of the Shiso playing off each other. The pork and the eggplant give this soup textural interest as well.

This recipe is entered in the Weekend Herb Blogging roundup created by Kalyn of Kalyn's Kitchen and hosted by Haalo of Cook Almost Anything.

Aloha, Nate

Hungry for More Dishes with Shiso?

Akane Sushi (Los Altos) Part 1

Vietnamese Summer Rolls

Bun Rieu Cua

Mana Bu's Musubi (Honolulu)

Have you used Shiso in your dishes? Leave us a comment and tell us what recipe you've used Shiso in!


Anonymous said...

The close up photos are gorgeous ... you are getting really good ;) Love the vibrant colours ... must be full of flavours!

Unknown said...

Dang it!!! Why do I bother subscribing to magazines when all I have to do is stop by here??? You've determined what we have for dinner on more than one occasion. And don't get me started on es teler, because I'll never stop until I get to the bottom of the bowl. The photo of the completed soup in the bowl really caught my eye -- BEAUTIFUL! Shiso = YUM! Guess what I'm making for dinner in the near future...

Olga said...

I don't think I've ever heard of shiso.

This looks like a very flavorful soup. Great photos!

Anonymous said...

Those are some gorgeous photos. Wow!
This sounds like a winning recipe.

smile4me8p said...

I love the picture of the soup. It's so beautiful! And I like the way you have images for each of the instructions....makes the method so much easier/interesting to read.

Anonymous said...

Love the reflection of the pork & shiso in the soup!

Anonymous said...

I expected the recipe to be lots more complicated based on your pictures but it looks simple enough. I only know how to garnish with shiso which is really a shame.

Rasa Malaysia said...

Did you get a new camera? Pictures are looking real good.

Anonymous said...

ooh, I love shiso. Your stew looks very delicious. I have both purple and green growing in my garden and let them go to seed. They are like basil and need to be pulled out afterwards, but in the spring I find sprouts everywhere (especially in my cymbidium orchids and lemongrass for some reason), which I then transplant into the herb container. The purple tends to be bitter for some reason... Here are a few recipes I've collected. I like to add it to salsas too and pickles and coleslaw..

SteamyKitchen said...

LOVE the first photo!

Nate @ House of Annie said...

@noobcook - thanks! it was so tasty!

@J - unsubscribe from your mags and save paper heheheh

@Olga - shiso belongs in your vocabulary and in your cooking!

@Kristen - thanks! What'd I win?

@smile4me8p - thanks! I should have done a video...

Nate @ House of Annie said...

@Diana - thanks - that's why I chose it out the dozen or so pics I took.

@Jude - Shiso belongs in your dishes too!

@Rasa - guess whose camera I got? ;-)

@foodhoe - nice set of recipes. I'll try it in salsa!

@Steamy - thanks! It's the camera...but you knew that!

Unknown said...

You are the one who bought Jaden's?


Nate @ House of Annie said...

@Bee - ...and lovin' it! *smooches camera*

Kalyn Denny said...

Great photos. You're really getting the hang of the camera. This soup sounds wonderful too. Sadly, I've never had shiso and I've been wanting to try it for ages. Never even seen it in Utah, sigh.

Nate @ House of Annie said...

@Kalyn - thanks! It's a lot of fun.

If you have a vietnamese grocery in town, you might find some there. Or you could even buy seeds online and try growing some in your garden - if basil and mint will grow, then so will shiso.

Anonymous said...

Shiso looks like a very interesting plant! This is the first time I have heard of shiso. So, it is a variety of mint? I will have to look for this in the plant nurseries. Thanks for sharing!

Nate @ House of Annie said...

@Ning - no, it is not a variety of mint. Just in the same family of plants as mint.