Grilled Sesame Shishito Peppers are a fun, super simple and delicious appetizer or side dish.
What is a Shishito Pepper?
Originating in Asia, Shishito Peppers are small slender peppers with a glossy, bright green, wrinkled appearance. The pepper gets its name from the Japanese “shishi” (lion) because the tip of the pepper resembles a lion’s head) Shishitos have thin skin, which makes them ideal for blistering over a hot grill.
Are Shishito Peppers Hot?
Shishito peppers are, most of the time, a mild, sweet pepper. However, if you are enjoying these, you could be in for a surprise, because about one out of every ten peppers is a hot one. Which makes eating shishito peppers as an appetizer a ton of fun, since you just never know. It’s pepper roulette.
But, not to worry, if you do happen to get a hot one, the heat is fairly mild. The Scoville measurement for shishitos is between 50 and 200 Scoville heat units. So if you compare it to the jalapenos mild heat, which has 2500 – 8000 heat units, it’s still pretty tame. Get more info about the Scoville scale here.
For the record, I have been growing, serving and eating these all summer, and so far (disappointingly) nobody has gotten a hot one.
Growing Shishito Peppers
I typically grow a half dozen pepper varieties each year. Peppers are so useful in the kitchen and super easy to grow, so it’s fun to keep trying new varieties. This is my first time growing shishitos, and I couldn’t believe how prolific the plant is. It produces tons of fruit, which grows rapidly.
Like all pepper plants, shishitos thrive in hot, dry conditions with long days of sunshine. The plant is compact and sturdy. The peppers should be harvested when they are bright green. You can pickle them, Quick Pickled Peppers Recipe, add them to salads, or eat them as appetizers, like these Grilled Sesame Shishito Peppers.
Shishito Pepper Nutrition
Like all peppers, shishitos are highly nutritious. They’re high in vitamin C, vitamin K1, vitamin E, vitamin A, as well as potassium and folate. Peppers are also high in fibre, as well, as low in calories.
Cooking Shishito Peppers
Shishito peppers have pretty thin skin, so when they are exposed to a very hot surface, that thin skin blisters and pops, imparting the sweet (or maybe that one hot) pepper taste with a delicious smoky flavour. This can be done on a grill, a hot pan, or the peppers can be roasted in a hot oven to achieve the same blistering effect.
How to Serve and Eat Grilled Sesame Shishito Peppers
This is a very simple appetizer. Because, you simply serve the peppers on a platter with a sprinkle of salt and sesame seeds, alongside the sesame dipping sauce. Finally, just pick up the peppers by the stem, dip, and pop the whole thing in your mouth. Delicious.
And, since your grill is already turned on, why not use it for the main course, too? May I suggest Grilled Pork Tenderloin, Lemon Garlic Grilled Shrimp, or Grilled Jerk Chicken Drumsticks? And don’t forget dessert on the grill, too. Try these delicious Spiced Rum Grilled Peaches
Grilled Sesame Shishito Peppers
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp sambal, sriracha, or other hot sauce
- 2 tsp lime juice
- 20 shishito peppers
- 3 tsp sesame oil
- Kosher or sea salt
- toasted sesame seeds, for garnish
- Heat grill to medium-high, and spray with cooking oil spray.
- In a small bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, sesame oil, hot sauce and lime juice for the dipping sauce. Refrigerate until ready to use.
- In a bowl, toss shishito peppers with sesame oil until coated
- Grill peppers over direct heat, turning to blister all sides, about 5 minutes
- Remove from grill to a platter, sprinkle with salt and sesame seeds, and serve hot, with dipping sauce.