Grilled Shishito Peppers




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Photo of a white bowl filled with shishito peppers.

Grilled Shishito Peppers are possibly the fastest and most interesting appetizer out there.  These simple Japanese peppers are flash cooked, or blistered, on a screaming hot grill pan for just a minute or so, and then served with a shower of salt or a small dish of soy sauce for a crazy delicious treat.  Just grab a pepper by the stem and gobble it down!

Shishito peppers are delicate Japanese peppers that become addictive when you roast them!

Photo of grilled shishito peppers in a basket lined with newspaper, topped with black sesame seeds and with a spoon filled with dipping sauce.

Peppers are the unsung heroes of late summer.  While everyone is talking about tomatoes and zucchinis, we forget that peppers are just as abundant and just as delicious.  And they come in more varieties, shapes, colors, and sizes than any other veggie I know.

Photo of hands holding a white colander filled with shishito peppers.

These little Shishitos are thin skinned, mild Japanese peppers, you might have noticed them on the appetizer menus of super trendy restaurants lately.  And no kidding, this is one of the quickest and easiest dishes you’ll ever make, and you will get raves, I promise.  Oh, and I should mention that they’re about 2 calories apiece.  For real.

Close up photo of two shishito peppers on a wood surface.

Our friend Ken grows them in his yard and offered to give me some to play with.  He says they’re easy to grow, and the more you harvest them, the more you get, so I didn’t feel too guilty accepting a big armful from him.  You can grow them in pots, too, because the plants are bushy and the peppers are small (about finger length.)  They’ll need lots of sun, and regular water though.

But unless you grow your own, Shishito peppers can be hard to find, they’re usually just in Asian or farmers’ markets, but the good news for you guys without gardens is that Trader Joe’s now sells bags of fresh Shishito peppers year round!  I picked up a couple bags to augment what Ken gave us, because once you flash roast these little peppers, the hand to mouth reflex kicks in and you can down dozens without coming up for air.

Photo of a white bowl filled with shishito peppers.

To make the most unique, healthy and delicious appetizer you’ve ever had, all you have to do is literally toss the peppers with a little oil (I used sesame) and then shake them around a very hot pan for 5 minutes until they’re slightly blackened and blistered.  Sprinkle with a little salt or sesame seeds, and you’re done.  No sauce required, in fact dipping would just add an unnecessary stopover on the way to your mouth.

Photo of grilled shishito peppers on a grill pan.

They’re fun to cook, they kind of dance around the pan and make little popping noises as they heat up inside.  Just shake the pan every 30 seconds or so to shift them around, or use tongs if you want to be more precise.  After about 5 minutes they’ll be blackened, slightly softened, and giving off their aroma.  You can eat them as is, hot from the pan, or, if you must dip, a little Tamari or ponzu sauce works well.  Ken’s’s wife likes to sprinkle them with salt and a squeeze of fresh lemon.  Heaven.

Grilled shishito peppers are great to do when you have guests over because they take just minutes and everyone will love to watch.  The only pitfall you’ll run into here is not making enough.  A normal person can down 25 of these in a blink of an eye.  They’re not heavy or filling, and there is no spicy heat to slow you down.  Plan on making lots, and serve with some ice cold beer.

Overhead photo of grilled shishito peppers on top of newspaper with a spoon filled with dipping sauce.

Eating instructions: grab by the stem and bite the whole pepper, leaving just the stem tip behind.  Repeat.

tips ~

  • I have read that some people prick each pepper with a pin before cooking, supposedly to prevent them from splitting as they cook, but I didn’t do that and I had no problems.
  • I cooked these both with and without oil and both worked great, so if you are really trying to cut calories, toast them in a dry pan and then just use the salt and lemon juice option.
  • The Trader Joe’s bag states that 7 peppers make a serving.  Um…no, don’t listen to them, they lie.
  • These actually reheat in the microwave pretty well, so if you have any leftover, save them for later.
  • A strange but true fact is that about 1 out of every 10 Shisito peppers is actually very hot.  No one knows quite why this is, but be aware, and keep that cold beer handy just in case.

Shishito Peppers
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Ingredients

  • about 15-20 Shishito peppers per serving
  • oil for lightly coating the peppers (I used sesame, you can use peanut, olive, or whatever you like)
    garnish
  • black sesame seeds or sea salt
    sauce
  • tamari soy sauce, ponzu sauce, or fresh lemon juice

Instructions

  1. Toss the peppers in a little bit of oil to lightly coat them. I used sesame oil, but you can use olive, peanut, or whatever oil you like.
  2. Set a grill pan or large skillet over medium high heat and let it heat up until nice and hot.
  3. Put the peppers in and let them cook for about 5 minutes, until they are blistered and charred in parts. Shake the pan or toss them around every 30 seconds or so.
  4. Remove from the pan and sprinkle with sesame seeds or salt.
  5. Serve hot with a squeeze of lemon, or a light sauce.

 

 

Don’t forget to pin these Grilled Shishito Peppers!

Grilled Shishito Peppers are possibly the fastest and most interesting appetizer out there. These simple Japanese peppers are flash cooked, or blistered, on a screaming hot grill pan for just a minute or so, and then served with a shower of salt or a small dish of soy sauce for a crazy delicious treat. Just grab a pepper by the stem and gobble it down! #shishitopeppers #peppers #grilling #summer #japanesefood #appetizer #glutenfree

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20 Comments

  • Reply
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  • Reply
    Laura (Tutti Dolci)
    August 27, 2015 at 11:18 am

    Shishito peppers are the best grilled, love that touch of sesame seeds!

  • Reply
    Maria | Pink Patisserie
    August 26, 2015 at 11:38 am

    So gorgeous! I adore them. Have you tried them tempura fried, with Korean ketchup? So amazing.. Your photos are stunning!

  • Reply
    John@Kitchen+Riffs
    August 26, 2015 at 8:53 am

    I love this dish! A lot of local restaurants have been offering this as a starter lately — hadn’t even heard of it until this year. Gotta grow some shishito peppers next year — so much flavor. Really nice post — thanks.

  • Reply
    Jennifer @ Seasons and Suppers
    August 26, 2015 at 7:18 am

    I’m not sure I can get my hands on this type of pepper around here, but so wishing I could. These look delicious!

  • Reply
    Toni | BoulderLocavore
    August 25, 2015 at 8:15 pm

    We grilled these at the grilling workshop at the beginning of the summer and they were fantastic! So nice you have a neighbor who grows them Sue! I love your recipe for them.

  • Reply
    Schatzi49
    August 25, 2015 at 3:03 pm

    Ok, I was just at TJs yesterday, so back I go tomorrow after my hair cut. I’m also going to stop by to get UV Srirachi vodka from Total Wine. Guess what will be on the menu tomorrow??

    • Reply
      Sue
      August 25, 2015 at 5:05 pm

      What time should I come over?

      • Reply
        Schatzi49
        August 25, 2015 at 6:15 pm

        About 6 and you would be very welcome.

  • Reply
    Eileen
    August 25, 2015 at 12:23 pm

    HA — I just made this exact thing! Great minds, etc. I’m intrigued to know that you don’t have to use oil — I’ll give that a try on my next batch. And the sesame seeds are a perfect idea.

    • Reply
      Sue
      August 25, 2015 at 12:32 pm

      I didn’t notice a difference either way, with or without the oil, although the sesame oil adds flavor.

  • Reply
    Erica
    August 25, 2015 at 11:26 am

    I have been making these for about a year. They are wonderful. I LOVE your recipe presentation – you make cooking so FUN!

    • Reply
      Sue
      August 25, 2015 at 12:12 pm

      Thanks Erica — do you season them the same way? lately I’ve just been eating them PLAIN — they are so good :)

      • Reply
        Erica
        August 25, 2015 at 11:34 pm

        Just olive oil and salt, but I am planning to branch out :-)

        • Reply
          Sue
          August 26, 2015 at 7:06 am

          I actually ate mine completely naked last night and love it!

          • Sue
            August 26, 2015 at 8:23 am

            The peppers were naked, that is…;)

  • Reply
    Chris Scheuer
    August 25, 2015 at 9:11 am

    I know I could seriously get into these peppers. So glad to know TJ’s carries them too, yipee!

    • Reply
      Sue
      August 25, 2015 at 9:55 am

      Trader Joes is awesome <3

  • Reply
    Tricia @ Saving room for dessert
    August 25, 2015 at 7:35 am

    You always have the most creative, beautiful posts Sue! These look mouthwatering-delicious. I just finished breakfast but am still drooling. What a nice neighbor and the info about the peppers is very much appreciated! Have a lovely day :)

    • Reply
      Sue
      August 25, 2015 at 7:48 am

      I hope you try them, Tricia, I know you’ll love them…I had no idea Trader Joes had them until the other day, so these are going to be regulars in our house.

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