January 22, 2015

Sibu Tales : Perilla 紫蘇

Jie Ru in Foochow or Zisu in Pinyin

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Photo of Perilla, taken in Mingqing, Fujian by Sarawakiana.

Good for cleaning fish to get rid of the fishy smell, Foochow traditional method. Perilla (Wikipedia) is an herb of the mint family, Lamiacease. There are other names given in other countries. It is classified under Perilla frutescens.

Our local Sarawakian method is to use tamarind juice.

It is traditionally used in Chinese medicine. It can ease symptons of  the common cold. It is also eaten as a vegetable, fried with garlic or ginger in oil. During my mother's childhood, all children were not sent to see doctors in town. Whenever they were ill, their mothers would brew some perilla tea for them. After a few days, they would feel better.

Su means revive, and its name sake is Mount Gusu, the peak which gives Suzhou its name.

The Manchurian festival of Food Examination Day 绝粮日) calls for perilla to be eaten by bannermen.

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