It's an oil derived from toasted perilla seeds.
It adds rich flavor and aroma to food. It can be used in various types of food like Guk(soup), Jjigae(stew), Jorim(simmering), Bokkeum(stir-frying), Gui(grilling), Muchim(salad), and sauce. It's paired well with tofu, mushroom, eggplant, bitter vegetables, dried vegetables, meat, seafood, etc.
When I moved out of my parents' house and started cooking, my mom gave me a bottle of perilla oil. I already had a sesame oil. My studio was tiny, and this new bottle of oil was a lot of pressure on me. I felt like I had to cook hard. I brought it home and made a call to my mom to ask how to use it. And her answer confused me. It sounded to me like there was no difference between perilla oil and sesame oil. Besides, I was worried about the unique aroma of perilla oil ruining my food. So the perilla oil had been locked in the fridge until I moved to another place.
What's the difference between sesame oil and perilla oil? How should we use it?
Usually, sesame oil has a darker color and a stronger aroma than perilla oil. It takes a longer time and a higher temperature to derive sesame oil than perilla oil. The longer you derive, the more amount, and the darker color and aroma you get. The heat accelerates oxidation, and it won't last long. However, sesame contains a substance that resists oxidation, unlike perilla seeds. So sesame oil is made in a long time.
Perilla oil has a nutty aroma subtly. It's tastes stronger than from sesame oil. It's deep and stays longer in the mouth. The unique flavor and aroma get rid of fishy or unpleasant meat smell. It soothes bitter flavor, too. When making tofu, it gets rid of the odor from the beans. It's used with tofu to add a more nutty flavor. It's used when cooking seaweed soup or grilling seaweed because it gets rid of the fishy odor. It's used with bitter spring vegetables or dried vegetables because it soothes the flavor and rough texture.
Sesame oil is good for seasoning and perilla oil for cooking with heat. The smoke point of perilla oil is higher, and it doesn't lose aroma much, compared to sesame oil. However, the smoke points of both oils aren't that high. So it's good to add them at the end of cooking.
Perilla oil doesn't have the substance that prevents oxidation, unlike sesame oil. It's good to purchase a small amount and keep it in the fridge. It can last longer when mixed with a little bit of sesame oil if it's made traditionally.