Mint, Shiso & Ginger Iced Tea

Hello friends! I’ve not been writing as many recipes here as I originally planned as I’ve been working on a thing and have been rather busy. Plus this heatwave Sonoma County is currently going through is killing me softly and my energy levels are loooooow. Don’t worry I didn’t go to the beach this last Memorial Day Weekend with the crowds (COVID time). Had a lovely weekend coming up with recipes for the next CSA box from Radical Family Farms.

Those of you who are members of theirs, you may already have your boxes as well as some lovely Perilla leaves, or Shiso, as I like to call it in Japanese! You’ve heard of it for sure. There are many types of Shiso out there, all with their slight variations in flavor. Shiso is used for many things. I like to have my garden or fridge stocked with it when at all possible as it is a very valuable herb to have on hand for garnishing and for cooking with. I’ll start by saying that anywhere you use cilantro, try using shiso instead. It adds a similarly aromatic flavor to cilantro but also vegetal and slightly minty (if you can call it that) flavor. It is delicious raw in a salad, deep fried in tempura batter (a personal fav) wrapped around your favorite grilled meats, rolled into wraps, slipped into sushi or even steeped in tea.

SEGUE! For this unsweetened iced tea recipe, I use Japanese Green Perilla or Aojiso but any kind of Shiso will do with light variations in flavor. Here I use black tea as a base BUT if you are caffeine intolerant, you could easily omit it and had a bit more herbs. You’ll also find that I have more mint in this recipe than shiso. That is because, as with cilantro, people sometimes find it too overpowering. If you want to go for the full monty, do equal parts mint and shiso!

Mint & Shiso Iced Tea

About 4 cups

One small handful fresh Mint– Woody stems removed

Half a small handful Shiso Leaves, plus extra for garnish

1 bag (or tsp) of Black Tea- You can omit this. If you are using loose leaf tea, use a tea ball and do be mindful that it can be stronger than bagged tea due to quality. Keep an eye on the darkness of the tea as it infuses. More below.

3-4 slices of fresh Ginger

A few slices of Lemon- To garnish

1000ml Boiled Water

Bring a kettle of water to a boil then turn off the heat and let it sit for a couple of minutes. You don’t want to “cook” the herbs. Put all your ingredients into a heatproof pitcher, measure out 1000ml of the boiling water and pour it over everything.

After 1-2 minutes, remove the tea bag. Depending on how strong you want the black tea to taste, you may decide to take it out sooner or leave it in longer.

Allow the herbs and ginger to sit in in the water for about 20 minutes. Again, if you want a stronger flavor, leave them in longer.

When it has reached the desired flavor, take the mint and shiso out- leaving the ginger- and allow to come to room temperature before putting it in the fridge to chill.

When its nice and cold. Pour over a few cubes of ice in a glass, pop a ginger slice in, throw in a slice of lemon, sprinkle with some chopped shiso and you’re ready!

If you really want to have your iced tea sweet, feel free to add some sugar or honey in there as well ;).

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