a hot streak June 10, 2010

This post has been a long time coming – almost embarrassingly so. A few years ago at a sushi restaurant, I tasted Shishito peppers. We were steered in their direction by our server – I'm sure the bewildered look we gave him was common. "You want me to eat a pepper WHOLE?!". He said trust me…and we did. A snacky bite with more sweet than heat, it was an addictive snack.

Ever since then, I've been asking folks where to get Shishito peppers. I've bugged folks going to Asian markets and told them to look for me. I've harassed people on Twitter. Heck, I've even considered growing my own since I couldn't find them. Until this past weekend. As I wandered the produce aisles at Super H Mart, I saw a package of "Japanese sweet peppers" that looked strangely familiar. They're so inexpensive, I bought them in hopes I'd found those long-lost peppers. I had…and they were just as good as I remember.

This is a great starter for an Asian inspired meal. Make handfuls and handfuls of them because they'll quickly disappear. Allegedly, one in 100 is spicy. Otherwise, they're sweet with only a tiny burn of heat. They also cook in minutes and have so much punch in such a small package. I seasoned mine with a light sprinkle of sesame seeds alongside some citrus and smoked paprika sea salt. Eat them whole but make sure you discard the stem – they make a great "handle" to dip into the salt.

Flash Fried Shishito Peppers 

  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 4 cups shishito peppers – washed & dried – leave the stem
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika

– Mix kosher salt and smoked paprika in small bowl & set aside. Heat sesame oil in a wok or deep saute pan until glimmering. Throw in your peppers and move them around in the pan until they start to blister. BE CAREFUL – the skins may pop and you may get oil sputters. They should blister in 2-3 minutes. Transfer from the pan onto paper towels to drain briefly. Place in serving bowl. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve slightly warm with lemon wedges and seasoned salt.


Tina Steele Lindsey Jun 13, 2010 09:06 am

Love your blog, adding to my Atlanta blogs and to my fb and twitter!

Allison Jun 15, 2010 01:06 pm

I have never tried these peppers but by the way you described them I can tell that I would love them! Now I too will begin the hunt for shishito peppers.

tami h. Jun 15, 2010 04:06 pm

Thank you so much! :)
– t*

tami h. Jun 15, 2010 04:06 pm

They’re awesome, I gotta say. I have never seen them actually LABELED Shishito Peppers. Keep your eyes peeled for Sweet Peppers or Japanese Sweet Peppers in more diverse markets. Enjoy ’em :)
– t*

Dodie @AshevilleTravel Jun 16, 2010 12:06 pm

Thank you, thank you for this post! I had these (also steered by our server) at a noodle house in NYC and couldn’t remember what they were called. I’ve asked some friends, but NOW I can renew my search for these peppers in Asheville. Mmm…just the memory of dipping those piping hot peppers into sea salt…yums.

philandlauren Jul 12, 2010 08:07 am

these peppers look great and are like the ones we chow down on at our tapas place. Thanks for the post.

DamonInATL Apr 11, 2013 07:04 pm

Tip: Poke holes in the peppers before you put them in the pan, if you want to prevent exploding peppers/sputters.

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