Kkaennip kimchi is a quick and easy kimchi that you can make with scented perilla leaves.
The kkaennip plants () have been blooming all summer this year! In Korean homes, there can not be many of these wonderful fragrant leaves. They are just beginning to bloom, and I’m excited to harvest the seeds (deulkkae, 들깨) later in the fall.
Kkaennip is a type of perilla plant that is a member of the mint family and is widely used as a vegetable in Korea.
Perilla plants are easy to grow. They like a sunny, well-drained location. I have planted mine in several containers this year and have picked 50 to 60 leaves every few days when they reach their peak. If you are interested in growing it, look for seedlings in Korean markets in the spring. You can easily find seeds online (like Etsy and Amazon) these days too.
Otherwise, kkaennip is available all year round in Korean markets.
The fresh leaves are commonly used as wraps for grilled meats or fish, or added to bibim goksu, savory pancakes, or stews for extra flavour. It’s also great in gimbap (or kimbap) or pork rolls.
We’ve been enjoying kkaennip jjim (steamed perilla leaves) all summer. For longer storage, pickling kkaennip (either as jangajji or kimchi) is very popular in Korea. Kkaennip jangajji and kimchi are staple summer side dishes but also traditional ways to preserve these aromatic vegetables to enjoy during the off season. I’ve been stocking up on several batches of both.
How to make kenep kimchi
Making kimchi with perilla leaves is very easy. For seasoning, I used a mixture of Korean fish sauce (myulchi aekjeot, 멸치) and soy soup sauce (guk ganjang, 국). You can use all the fish sauce for a slightly stronger flavor or all the soy sauce for a vegan option. Regular soy sauce can be used if you do not have soy sauce soup.
For the other vegetables, I used green onions and hot red pepper which is optional. Chives are also great in place of green onions.
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Kkaennip kimchi (Perella kimchi)
If using, boil a small (about 2 inch) piece of dasima in 1/2 cup of water for 5 minutes and then cool with the dasima inside.
This recipe was originally published in August 2013. Updated here with new photos, recipe card, and minor recipe improvements.