Pork Rolls and Shiso in Tempura


I still remember discovering Korean dishes made me feel like tasting a bolder and hotter version of the Japanese cuisine. I quickly realised this vision was too simplistic, since Korean cuisine is much more than chili and garlic, which are not as ubiquitous as many people think. Until now I have cooked very few Korean dishes and have posted only one (Mandu, or Korean dumplings). Even though I don’t cook Korean more than a few times a year, I am addicted to gochujang and put it in many Asian or European dishes (Black Pudding and Gochujang Toast and Scallops with Gochujang are very good examples). My very recent discovery of Eating and Living, a beautiful, inspiring Korean cooking blog, has triggered off my need to keep on exploring this cuisine, especially since, browsing through posts I realised many dishes can be prepared with the Japanese ingredients I always have in stock.

These pork rolls were the first I have bookmarked. Even looking at them I knew they were my cup of tea: I love tempura, shiso, pork and the chili kick was all I needed on a cold Autumn night. I was also thrilled to discover the excellent pork and shiso combination, broadening the use of the herb I am so fond of. Even though my rolls were not as beautiful as Hyosun Ro’s, the taste was perfect. When cut in half and presented with the colourful filling upwards, my rolls ended up looking quite appealing. I used one slice of hot pepper and one slice of bell pepper, but next time I will stick to chili. Thank you, Hyosun Ro, for this wonderful recipe!

I had them as a main dish, but I can imagine them as an ideal party snack. It didn’t come as a surprise that the Tomato and Shiso Salad was the perfect pairing. You can serve them, as Hyosun advises, with this sauce, or with any sauce of your choice. I enjoyed them with one of my favourite quick sauces: a mixture of thick soured milk and gochujang.

Preparation: 1 hour

Ingredients (16 pork rolls: a starter for four or a main dish for two):

16 thin lean pork slices (1-2 mm thick)

16 big perilla/shiso leaves

1 big bell pepper or chili peppers, sliced (I counted two thick slices per roll)

a couple tablespoons flour

50g tempura flour

cold water

salt, pepper

3 teaspoons grated fresh ginger

oil for deep-frying

Season the pork slices with ginger, salt and pepper. Put aside.

Heat the oil in a pan.

Prepare, in separate bowls: tempura batter roughly mixed with ice cold water (the mixture should have a pancake batter consistency, but it shouldn’t be smooth, but with lumps; the best way is to mix delicately with chopsticks), flour, shiso leaves and sliced chili or bell peppers.

Dredge every pork slice slightly in flour (on both sides), place a shiso leaf on one side, then chili slices (close to the edge) and roll the pork slice very tightly.

Check the oil temperature: if a small amount of tempura starts bubbling and frying immediately (it doesn’t fall down), the oil is probably ready to fry.

Dredge each pork roll in tempura batter and deep-fry for 4-5 minutes.

Pat dry with paper towels and serve.

TIP: I always keep a baking dish in my oven, heated to 60°C, and put there every deep-fried batch, so that they stay warm until I serve everything.

49 Replies to “Pork Rolls and Shiso in Tempura”

    1. Thank you! (I hope next time they will look better, I must still work on my tempura batter…). I must be a huge glutton because for me half a roll was exactly one mouthful 😉

  1. Sissi, these look wonderful – healthy, delicious and full of flavour. Is that the ginger poking out in bright pink? I absolutely love raw ginger in sushi rolls -sometimes, following my morning workout, I’ll pick up a six-pack ;0 of sushi with ginger and it makes my day! I’ve not explored Korean cuisine very much myself and am very happy to have this recipe – I like the idea of chili warming the rolls for autumn…. they’re so pretty Sissi!

    1. Thank you, Kelly! Ginger is invisible here (it’s grated and spread on pork slices before rolling them). I used red chili and yellow bell pepper. Strangely the yellow pepper has turned green during the frying process! I have never had raw ginger in sushi rolls, but I love ginger in all versions (pickled ginger is great too), except for candied. You are very kind, but I know I still should work on my tempura batter. I wasn’t proud of it here. I will remember your raw ginger tip next time I make maki rolls.

  2. Nice variation of a spring roll. Instead of using spring roll wrapper pork is used:) I am relatively familiar with Korean food but never came across this. Sounds really delicious for sure.

    1. Thank you so much, Mr. Three-Cookies. Pork instead of spring roll paper sounds like a better option! I have never seen a similar recipe either. It sounds very original.

  3. Sissi, I feel the same way about Korean cooking, it’s much bolder than Japanese flavor, definitely suited for colder weather! I don’t cook Korean dishes often either, it’s due to pure laziness. The recipes almost always seem to have a hundred steps/ingredients, so it’s much easier to just drive to our favorite Korean restaurant instead of preparing it myself. Your rolls are BEAUTIFUL, and I love you added shiso into it, remind me to give that herb another try soon!

    1. Jeno, thank you for these kind words. When I still didn’t cook Japanese much I also thought Korean recipes called for many ingredients I didn’t have. Now that I have Japanese basic ingredients all the time I have realised I can cook Korean more often. I have only a few Korean restaurants. They are really quite expensive and far from my house, so I go there very rarely. I would better start cooking Korean! (I am sure I have never seen these rolls anywhere).

    1. Thank you! I also think I could have it every day (now, I wouldn’t say no if someone made them for my breakfast).

  4. These rolls look gorgeous, would also indeed make a good appearance in a bento box :). Japanese and Korean cuisines are two of my biggest culinary crushes, so I really love the sound of this recipe! These might even taste good in sushi rolls, hmmm….!!

    1. Thank you, CG! If one day I start making bento boxes, I will remember the opinion of the specialist 🙂 Sometimes when I go out to work in the office and prepare my lunch, I think I should have had a look at your blog for ideas (the simpler ones of course!).

  5. These pork rolls are stunning, Sissi! I’ve never really made a Korean dish, but when I do, I think I’m going to have to make these. 🙂

  6. you know what sissi, that was the exact same response i had to korean food. even though i know there;s a lot more to kreoan food, i still stand by that description sometimes in the sense that i much prefer korean to japanese food for their more intense flavours! the rolls look delicious! i’ve made korean pork bone soup gamjatang once, and kimchi probably 5 times haha. love kimchi.

    1. I couldn’t say which one I prefer. I doubtlessly know much better Japanese cuisine, so cook it much more often now and probably prefer it, but I also cook other ethic dishes and it’s always a great change. Now I have realised that if I want something similar to Japanese cuisine, but with a stronger taste, I should opt for Korean.
      I also made kimchi about two years ago when I had Korean neighbours. They even seemed to like it 😉 However I have forgotten one step in the process and have put not enough chili, so it wasn’t hot enough. I have to start making it once more! Thank you: your five kimchis are very encouraging! The soup sounds intriguing too.

  7. I think there is always a tug of war between Japanese and Korean food for me; I used to prefer Korean food then I preferred Japanese food until I tried some really good food at a Korean restaurant and I liked them, but I still missed Japanese food. I don’t think I will compare them, as though they seem so close to each other, they are distinctly different, and I think I love them that way.
    You really make gourmet Korean food, which I am sure is not just good for a party, but also a gourmet dinner 🙂

    1. Thank you, Christy. You are very kind! Neither I could say which one I prefer. I have been exploring more Japanese cuisine for some time, but when I see Korean dishes I crave them too.

  8. Wow, I could do with a couple of these right now. They look beautiful and colorful. I love Korean as much as Japanese food. And you’re right about the boldness in flavors in Korean dishes. I too am addicted to gochujang. The only attempt at Korean I’ve made is the Kimchi. That turned out pretty good.

    1. Thank you, Ping. I am so happy to know another gochujang addict (now that I have only a couple of tablespoons left at the bottom of the box I have already put it on my shopping list!). I have also made kimchi, once. As I told Shuhan it was good, although not hot enough and I have forgotten one step in the preparations, so the result wasn’t perfect. Now that you both tell me about your kimchi, I have to make one soon!

  9. Sissi, this is a beautiful and delicious! I haven’t made pork rolls lately and I have to be creative with ingredients again! I love how you deep fried the rolls! I enjoy reading Hyosun’s blog as well. 🙂

  10. Wow, these rolls look great, and love that you have shiso in it. Beautifully done.
    Somehow I was more exposed to Japanese cuisine than Korean, maybe because my mom had Japanese influence when growing up…I like both cuisine, and find them very different 🙂
    Hope you are having a wonderful week Sissi!

  11. Sissi, you make some of the most interesting dishes. I wish that I could buy more ethnic ingredients but unfortunately I can only dream what the taste is like on some of the recipes. I think they are beautifully rolled and presented.

    1. Thank you so much, Karen. I think you can buy most Japanese ingredients by internet. I have managed to buy even shiso and some other Asian plants’ grains through internet!

  12. I didn’t realise there was a specific flour for tempura… I must try and get some. Then my tempura can be even more win! This look truly delicious – golden and crispy and full of tastes I love and as someone mentioned above, a bit like a variation of a spring roll. Now that I’ve done tempura once the sky’s the limit – I think I’ll be trying these in the not too distant future!

    Thanks for sharing these Sissi 🙂

    1. Oh, so your tempura was made with regular flour? Congratulations! I often have problems with the special tempura flour… Thank you for the compliments!

        1. Oh, I see… There is baking powder, etc., so you have simply prepared your tempura batter from the scratch 😉 It’s made of regular flour with some additions (I have never checked exactly).

  13. Very pretty presentation. One day I’ll attempt to make these, one day! Wish yo could deliver them that would be much easier! lol

  14. Sissi – Your pork rolls look awesome! I am so happy to hear the taste was “perfect” too. Thank you for the nice words about my blog and the link! I really appreciate it. Cheers!

    1. Thank you so much, Hyosun Ro. The taste was perfect indeed (apart from the fact that I was too shy with chilies, next time I’ll put more!). These are not just nice words, but the truth: your inspiring blog has awakened my love for Korean food! I used to cook it more a couple of years ago and then switched a lot to Japanese food. Now I will explore both!

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