Smoky, fun, and super addicting, these blistered shishito peppers make the best appetizer to serve with your summer dishes! Roast these Japanese peppers in a dry skillet until deliciously charred and flavor them with a simple ginger soy sauce. It’s full of umami and simply sublime. You’ll be obsessed.
Are you ready to serve up the most exciting, tasty yet easy appetizer this season? I have a Blistered Shishito Peppers with Ginger Soy Sauce recipe for you!
These blistered shishito peppers are immensely popular at Japanese izakayas (Japanese gastropubs), but you can easily make this at home. They are so fabulous at any summer parties, BBQs, game days, or Asian-themed gatherings. Don’t forget to bring out some icy cold beer or sake or whatever bubbly you have on hand!
Table of Contents
- What Are Shishito Peppers?
- Where to Buy Shishito Peppers
- How to Make Blistered Shishito Peppers with Ginger Soy Sauce
- 5 Tips to Roast Shishito Peppers
- Flavor Variations for Blistered Shishito Peppers
- What to Serve With Blistered Shishito Peppers
What Are Shishito Peppers?
Shishito peppers (獅子唐) are East Asian variety peppers that are harvested early when they turn bright green and reach 3-4 inches long. These slender, finger-like peppers have a mild heat and are enjoyed commonly in Japanese cuisine.
While shishitos might not meet the score of capsaicin-induced heat level, you would love them for their infinitely cool and thrilling factor.
The peppers have very thin skins so they cook quickly and could easily sizzle and achieve appetizing chars on the outside in an open flame or in a hot pan. They are so delicious when pan-grilled for teppanyaki, skewered for yakitori, or battered and deep-fried as tempura. In the US, they are gaining fast in popularity as grilling peppers.
When pan-fried as I did in this blistered shishito peppers recipe, you’d get tantalizingly smoky, caramelized yet bright flavor. The skin around the charred edges is crispy and the inside is deliciously creamy.
What do shishito peppers taste like?
These are uniquely flavorful chili peppers: sweet, crisp, and citrusy taste with a slight hint of smoke. Once cooked, shishito peppers have a verdant tang and creamy texture. They might remind you of green bell peppers, but with a little more kick and personality.
Are shishito peppers spicy?
Shishito peppers aren’t hot at all—most of the time. To give you a comparison, jalapeños are rated at 2,500-8,000 units on the Scoville Heat Scale while shishito peppers are only rated anywhere between 50-200 units. Which is why they are the only chili peppers that the Japanese like myself daringly eat whole:)
While they are on the tame side of things, about 1 in 10 to 20 of the shishito peppers do pack some good heat. Occasionally, you’ll come across some surprising outliers that can set your mouth aflame. And that’s the exciting part of eating shishito peppers.
Where to Buy Shishito Peppers
Shishito peppers are harvested year-round but are at their peak from summer to early fall, so look for them at your local farmers’ market!
You can also find shishitos at major grocery stores, like Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, local co-ops, etc. Alternatively, you can grow them easily in your own garden!
How to Make Blistered Shishito Peppers with Ginger Soy Sauce
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Shishito peppers – After rinsing, make sure to pat them dry with paper towels or a clean dish cloth.
- Soy sauce – You’ll need just a light splash of soy sauce at the end when the peppers are sizzling and charring in the hot pan. The soy sauce adds an unmistakable touch of savoriness to the dish.
- Honey (optional)
This makes an ideal vegan and gluten-free appetizer.
Overview: Cooking Steps
- Make the ginger soy sauce. Grate the ginger and combine it with soy sauce. Optionally, you can add a tiny bit of honey to sweeten the sauce.
- Make a slit on shishito peppers with a knife. More about it below.
- Roast shishito peppers. Heat a large cast-iron skillet or frying pan over medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot, add the shishito peppers in a single layer. Roast the peppers in the dry skillet on one side until they start to blister, turning them 1-2 times until all the edges of the peppers get a nice bit of char on the outside skin, about 10 minutes.
- Toss to coat the shishito peppers with sauce.
5 Tips to Roast Shishito Peppers
- Make a small slit in each pepper. This extra step will allow the steam to escape and prevent them from exploding.
- No oil is necessary. You can put the shishito peppers directly onto the frying pan when it’s hot.
- Do not flip shishito peppers too frequently. Let them roast for a minute at a time before flipping, so they get a chance to char.
- Keep a close watch as you roast the peppers. Once they get good contact with the heat, they will sizzle and char quickly.
- Remove the nicely charred shishito peppers from the pan while you continue with the un-charred peppers. They don’t finish charring at once, so remove the ones that are done earlier.
Flavor Variations for Blistered Shishito Peppers
If you’re interested in some easy variations for your blistered shishito peppers, try:
- Sesame oil and sea salt flakes
- Extra virgin olive oil, sea salt, and a squeeze of lemon
- Shichimi togarashi pepper and sea salt
- Soy sauce and chili sauce
What to Serve With Blistered Shishito Peppers
Blistered shishito peppers go with almost everything! Hand me a plate and I could easily finish them off all by myself as a stand-alone appetizer.
You could serve it as a side to go along with your cold soba noodle salad, BBQ dishes, sushi meal, and more! Another great idea is to serve blistered shishito peppers alongside a few other izakaya dishes to make a spread for the evening meal.
More Appetizer Recipes You’ll Love
- Edamame & How to Cook Them the Proper Way
- Gyoza (Japanese Pan Fried Dumplings)
- Salted Chicken Wings
- Onigiri (Rice Balls)
Blistered Shishito Peppers with Ginger Soy Sauce
- 5 oz shishito peppers
For the Ginger Soy Sauce
- 1 Tbsp soy sauce
- ½ tsp ginger (grated, with juice; from 1-inch, 2.5-cm knob)
- ½ tsp honey (optional)
- Gather all the ingredients.
To Make the Ginger Soy Sauce
- Peel and grate the ginger (I use a ceramic grater) and measure ½ tsp ginger, grated, with juice.
- Combine 1 Tbsp soy sauce, the grated ginger, and ½ tsp honey (optional) in a medium bowl and whisk them all together. Set aside.
To Roast the Shishito Peppers
- Make a small slit in each of the 5 oz shishito peppers. This will allow the steam to escape and prevent them from exploding.
- Heat a large frying pan on medium-high heat. When it‘s hot, add the shishito peppers and let them brown without disturbing them. Once the bottom side is nicely charred, flip over the peppers and roast until the other side is blistered and charred.
- Transfer the blistered shishito peppers from the pan directly to the bowl with the ginger soy sauce. Coat them well with the sauce. Serve warm or at room temperature.
- You can keep the leftovers in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.