Aromatic green, jagged-edged leaf from the perilla (or beefsteak) plant, which is part of the mint and basil family. The versatile green shiso is used in salads, sashimi, cooked dishes like tempura and as a garnish. Green shiso is available fresh from summer to fall in Asian markets. It's also called perilla and Japanese basil. The less common and less aromatic red shiso is from a different plant species and is more likely to be found pickled than fresh.
From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.