Shishito Chili Peppers
Scoville Heat Units: 50-200 SHU
The shishito pepper is a popular appetizer pepper that is interesting for being mostly a mild chili pepper, but every now and then a particular pod will pack some heat. The heat isn’t overwhelming, but it can be surprising, which adds allure and popularity to this particular pepper.
It is a vibrant green pepper that eventually matures to red, but are mostly eaten green. It is similar to the pimiento de padron chili pepper.
The pods are slender, growing 2-4 inches in length. They are wrinkly and have thinner walls, making them ideal for appetizers and nibbling.
The name, “Shishito”, derives from the Japanese words “shishi”, which means “lion”, and “togarashi”, which translated to “chili pepper”. Hence, in Japan, it is the Lion Head pepper.
Shishito peppers are popular in Japan, where the food is not known for being spicy, though they are increasingly appearing on American menus.
In Korea, it is know as kkwari-gochu (“groundcherry pepper”) due to its wrinkled surface resembling groundcherries.
These are from my garden. So good!
How Hot is the Shishito Pepper?
Shishito Pepper Flavor
It is fun to get the extra spicy shishito pepper every now and then, though again, don’t expect big heat. Even the hottest of them are quite mild. They have a fresh peppery flavor, however, with bell pepper brightness and slightly sweet.
Cooking with Shishito Peppers
Popular methods for cooking with shishito peppers include searing them in oil in a cast iron pan or grilling them. Finish them with a bit of sea salt and/or some creme fraiche or salty cheese. They really do make for excellent starters or appetizers.
They are also popular for stuffing with soft cheeses and battering and frying.
I have personally grown shishito peppers in my garden and the plants are quite productive. I can easily pick a dozen at a time and cook them as a dinner starter. I love them.
Try this recipe – Blistered Shishito Peppers with Flaky Sea Salt and Lime.