Simmered Shishito Peppers and Jako Itameni

Miwa’s Kyoto Kitchen Recipe This simple side dish combines fresh summer shishito peppers with chirimen jako (dried sardine fry) and is simmered with sake and a lot of soy sauce. The textural juxtaposition of sauteed vegetable and crunchy little fish is delightful. It should be made with plenty of soy sauce as the saltiness perfectly compliments rice.

Home Cooking: Shishito Peppers and Jako Simmered in Soy Sauce

Shishito peppers are perhaps the most commonly consumed variety of pepper in Japan. Shishito peppers are ‘peppery’ in flavor and while fairly sweet, it seems that in every bunch of shishito there are one or two hot ones. As you bite into one, you never know if you have a zinger or not! In Japan, Shishito are available all year now.

About the Name of the Dish
‘Itame’ means to saute and ‘ni’ means to simmer, as in nizakana (simmered fish).

Shishito Peppers
Home Cooking: Shishito Peppers and Jako Itameni Simmered in Soy Sauce

Saute Jako in Sesame Oil
Home Cooking: Shishito Peppers and Jako Itameni Simmered in Soy Sauce

Simmer in Sake
Home Cooking: Shishito Peppers and Jako Itameni Simmered in Soy Sauce

Shishito Peppers and Jako Itameni Recipe
Be sure not to use chirimen jako that has already been flavored with shoyu and/or sansho. Chirimen should be whitish grey in color, not brownish red.

Ingredients

  • 20-30 Japanese shishito peppers
  • 1/2 cup chirmen jako (plain, not sansho flavored)
  • 3 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1/2 – 1 cup sake or cooking sake (ryorishu)
  • 5 tablespoons Japanese soy sauce (shoyu)
  • 1-2 tablespoons mirin (sweet cooking sake)

Preparation
Wash shishito and remove stems. Saute chirimen jako in smoking hot oil 1 or 2 minutes then add shishito and reduce heat. After the bottoms of the shishito have browned slightly pour on sake and cover. After 2 to 3 minutes and most of the sake has been absorbed, add the soy sauce and mirin and simmer until absorbed.

You can add sugar to caramelize the chirimen jako, if you like.

point: Don’t overcook. If shishito are overcooked the collapse and become flat. You want them to be cook and retain their shape. Adjust the amount of soy sauce to suit your taste. This is a side dish, not a main dish. It is intended to be salty.

Shishito Peppers and Jako Itameni – Served
Home Cooking: Shishito Peppers and Jako Itameni Simmered in Soy Sauce

This is another dish that you ought to be able to adapt easily with local vegetables in your region. As chirimen jako is dried, it ought to be relatively easy to obtain outside of Japan. Try online. Let us know of your localized creations!

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3 Responses to “Simmered Shishito Peppers and Jako Itameni”

  1. Meg says:

    Hello Peko,
    This looks delicious. What sort of pepper would you recommend for someone who cannot easily find shishito? Thanks to Miwa for the lovely recipes!

  2. Peko Peko says:

    Hello Meg, う〜ん… maybe anaheim peppers? To my taste, anaheim’s might even top shishito.

    Miwa says: Thank you for liking this recipe, please try making and improve this recipe!

  3. chieko says:

    Anaheims (aka New Mexico chiles) may be a little big and the skin can be tough. A lot of jalapenos any more are not that hot and the size is about right. I would try those. Cubanelles may be a good substitute but may not have as much flavor. Some Asian markets may have the shishito peppers. You can order the seeds for the shishito from Kitazawa Seed Co. http://www.kitazawaseed.com/seed_083-103.html

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