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
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon sambal, sriracha, or other hot sauce
- 2 teaspoon lime juice
- 20 shishito peppers
- 3 teaspoon 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.
I've never had a shishito pepper and the reference to pepper roulette is hilarious! I'll be keeping my eyes peeled for them now because this recipe sounds so delicious! Thanks for sharing!
Hi Kelly, I do hope you are able to find some of these little peppers. They are a perfect, simple appy with a touch of fun. 🙂
I have never heard of these peppers. Wow - I learn so much every time I read your blog! They sound like a perfect little healthy appetizer - can't wait to try them!
Hi Terri, that makes me so happy, thank you! These little peppers are definitely worth trying!
What a great idea for an appetizer...something I had never thought of! Thanks for posting this recipe!
Hi Lisa, you are so welcome. I hope that you'll try and love these as much as we do!
Delicious! I had these for the first time in France a couple of months ago and I've been thinking about them ever since! Thanks for the recipe!!
Hi Elaine, so funny that you had these Japanese peppers in France. I love how cuisines cross cultures, and I was following your culinary trip. So awesome!
What a great appetizer! I have a bbq coming up, so I will definitely give these a go then, thanks!!
I know you'll love these for your bbq, Adrianne! Enjoy!
Now where was this recipe when I used to get bags upon bags of shishito peppers in my CSA box in CA? I am going to have to go hunting for them in Aus now as these look just like an amazing version I had in a restaurant and always wanted to replicate.
Hey Donna, how is that for timing, right? I really hope you can find some in Aus, because these are super simple and also delicious. Cheers!
Great recipe for an amazing appetite. Have to try out making these spicy and yummy grilled peppers.
I never heard of this kind of pepper before! They look so delicious and would make a grea appetizer!
Cindy @ A Uniquely Edible Magic
I enjoy eating the odd hot shishito pepper! Grilling them really brings out the flavour.
Cindy , They really are easy and delicious, aren't they?