Stir-Fried Shishito Peppers With Smoky Aioli
Shishito Peppers are a cult favorite at Japanese steakhouses. They’re crisp, full of flavor, and easy, and delicious. Stir-Fried Shishito Peppers With Smoky Aioli are gluten-free and addicting.
On February 13, 2015, Troy and I had a date night. I remember the date because I think Valentines Day is stupid, but going out the night before was ok in my eyes. We wandered around a cute little downtown in a city 40 minutes north of us. We headed to a seafood restaurant and grabbed a table in the bar. Which always cracks me up since neither of us drinks, but there are usually available tables.
We ended up ordering shishito peppers as an appetizer. Anyone who knows me knows I hate peppers, but for whatever reason, these are enjoyable to me. The appetizer was delicious, and I was sad we hadn’t ordered a double batch. They were mild, but a little spicy and had an excellent dipping and pan sauce. They were everything.
Flash forward to June/July 2015. We had found out towards the end of May that I was pregnant with Bennett. Knowing how sick I had gotten while pregnant with Jack, I set out on what I deemed my “last meal tour”. I wanted to enjoy every dish I loved before food became my enemy. At the top of the list were those shishito peppers.
My excitement level was palpable. I could taste those peppers and planned to request a double order. And then let Troy eat three.
You should have seen the look on my face when the waitress told me they were no longer on the menu. My pleas of “we drove 40 minutes for these” were met with an “I’m sorry, but you should have checked the menu online before coming”.
The waitress then informed me they were only ever on the winter menu, and in a downward spiral of shame and desperation, I tearfully yelled “BUT PEPPERS ARE A SUMMER VEGETABLE. WHO PUTS THEM ON A WINTER MENU”?! I cannot say it was my finest moment, but I’ll just go ahead and blame hormones. And a desire to have those delicious shishito peppers.
I ended up ordering some noodle dish that I’m sure was fine, but all I could really taste was a mixture of bitterness and disappointment. I later apologized to the waitress. For one, I had acted like a rude child, and two as a former waitress myself, I know she had zero control over what was available or on the menu. It was stupid of me to pout, but I did shed a few tears over that bowl of noodles.
How to Cook Shishito Peppers
- In a wok or cast iron skillet (do NOT use non-stick), heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the peppers, and stir to toss in the coconut oil. Then, let the peppers sit and blister for a few minutes. Stir, and let sit again until they have reached your desired “crispiness”.
- Drizzle the soy sauce, sesame oil, and rice vinegar over the peppers, and stir to combine. Transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel to rest for 2-5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, combine Greek yogurt and hot sauce, and set aside. It can be done right before serving, but the flavor will be much better if the sauce is made a few hours or even a day ahead of time.
- Transfer peppers to a bowl, and sprinkle with a good pinch of kosher salt. Immediately serve with dipping sauce.
Shishito peppers are known for their mild crunch, but a small percentage of them can be hot. It is kind of a fun game of chicken while you’re happily chomping them during dinner. Nothing like a little danger while you eat a meal, right?
The easiest way to eat these little green gems is with your hands. Miss Manners would give you the side-eye until she tried them herself. Grasp it by the stem, and bite the pepper up to the base of the stem. Troy considers one pepper is equal to one bite, but for me, it is two chomps. Cause I’m a lady. Dammit.
Summer vegetables be damned, these peppers should not wait until next year to be made. Track down a pack of shishitos yourself, and make your mouth happy. Make them at home, and spare the poor sweet wait staff.
Making this recipe or others?
- 1 pound shishito peppers rinsed and patted dry
- 1/4 tsp toasted sesame oil
- 1/4 tsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp coconut oil or other high-heat oil live avocado
- Kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp rice vinegar
- 1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1 tbsp Hot sauce of your choice I love Yin Yang
Combine Greek yogurt and hot sauce, and set aside. It can be done right before serving, but the flavor will be much better if the sauce is made a few hours or even a day ahead of time.
In a wok or cast iron skillet (do NOT use non-stick), heat the oil over medium-high heat.
Add the peppers, and stir to toss in the coconut oil. Then, let the peppers sit and blister for a few minutes. Stir, and let sit again until they have reached your desired "crispiness".
Drizzle the soy sauce, sesame oil, and rice vinegar over the peppers, and stir to combine. Transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel to rest for 2-5 minutes.
Transfer peppers to a bowl, and sprinkle with a good pinch of kosher salt. Immediately serve with dipping sauce.
Peppers are best served immediately. They will soften in the refrigerator.
Looking for a dairy-free/vegan version of the aioli? Try Vegan Sriracha Aioli.
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