Ooba (Shiso) Miso: A Tasty Versatile Japanese Seasoning
“Ooba (大葉)” or Oba, also known as “Aojiso (青紫蘇)”, is the edible green leaf of Shiso or perilla. The leaves are large with serrated edges and commonly used in Japanese cooking throughout the year.
Ooba is a herby, nutritious leaf, especially rich in beta carotene, B vitamins, vitamins E and K, and calcium. It often comes with sashimi and is used, making the most of the pleasant aroma.
Oba Miso (大葉味噌)
Because of its nice scent, Ooba or Oba can serve as a kind of flavoring and is often chopped up and mixed into something, such as dressing, sauce, beverages, or miso.
And what I introduce here, Oba Miso, also called Shiso Miso, is a quintessential example of using miso. In Japan, it is available in jars in many supermarkets, but Japanese home cooks sometimes make it from scratch at home.
Ooba Miso is a fragrant, sweet, savory seasoning (condiment) made basically with chopped Oba leaves, miso, mirin, sugar, and sake, and matches well with a variety of foods such as rice, bread, meat, fish, or tofu.
Specifically, first, miso, mirin, sugar, and sake are put together into a frying pan and brought to a simmer. Then add in chopped Oba leaves and cook until they become soft and shiny.
For your reference, as an example, this popular recipe on cookpad.com uses a 1:1:2:1:1 ratio of sesame oil, mirin, miso, sugar, and sake.
Ooba Miso is most commonly eaten with plain white rice and often used in Onigiri rice balls. The fragrant sweet-savory miso also goes well with alcoholic drinks (as a nibble or Otsumami) and fresh vegetable sticks (as a dip) and is sometimes used as a marinade for meat and fish.