Japanese Stuffed Peppers

Looking for an appetizer? This Japanese recipe is sure to be a hit!

The nice little red, orange and yellow mini sweet peppers were on sale. One could buy two 8-ounce packages for $5, but there was a better deal a few bins away: a 2-pound bag for $5. I couldn’t pass that up!

They’re beautiful.

Buying food on sale saves money only if one actually cooks and eats it. I found a couple of recipes for Japanese stuffed peppers. Most European, Mediterranean, and American stuffed peppers contain a mixture of meat, barley or rice, and sometimes legumes. This was a way to stretch a small amount of meat to feed a number of people. Often they are baked in a sweet-sour tomato sauce. The Japanese Western-Style peppers are filled with a mixture of beef and pork plus onions and seem like Japanese hambaagu or dumplings encased in the vegetable. Perhaps the Japanese assume Westerners enjoy large servings of meat and the peppers make the meal lighter?

Japanese Stuffed Bell Peppers
pi-man no niku zume

adapted from Cooking with Dog
and Kanako’s Kitchen
Serves 3

  • 4 or 5 pieces of dried porcini mushrooms, reconstituted in ½ cup chicken broth
  • 12 mini sweet bell peppers
  • ⅓ pound ground round (beef)
  • ¼ pound ground pork
  • 1 egg

  • 3 Tablespoons panko breadcrumbs
  • salt and pepper
  • ½ small onion, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • all purpose flour

Soak the porcini in the chicken broth for about an hour. Squeeze the mushrooms and mince finely. Reserve the chicken broth.

Cut the peppers in half lengthwise, remove the stems and seeds. (Note: I’d blanch the peppers for a couple of minutes next time because Japanese peppers have much thinner skins, and these took a long time to cook.) Use a fine meshed sieve to sprinkle flour over the peppers: this helps to hold the meat in the pepper shells.

Add the egg, panko, salt and pepper, and minced mushrooms to a bowl and beat. Combine the pork and beef, and stir into the bowl. Mix vigorously so the meat becomes smooth and sticky. Add the onion and garlic. Mix heartily to combine: the meat should become a cohesive “lump.”

Spoon meat into the prepared peppers and press firmly. Each should be slightly overstuffed. Press flat: you don’t want the middle to be a thick hump which will take longer to cook than the edges.

Sprinkle with flour.

  • 3 Tablespoons Saké
  • 1 Tablespoon Mirin
  • ½ Tablespoon sugar
  • ½ cup reserved chicken broth from the porcini
  • vegetable oil for frying

Combine the saké, mirin, sugar, and chicken broth in a measuring cup.

Heat a large skillet, add some cooking oil, and when it’s hot, place the peppers meat-side down. Cook on medium heat until the meat is browned. Turn each one over then sprinkle in a Tablespoon or two of water. Cover immediately. When the steam subsides, test to see if the meat is cooked. If not, repeat.

Pour the sauce into the skillet, and when it comes to a simmer begin removing the peppers to a warm plate. Stir to deglaze the pan. Simmer for a few minutes to thicken slightly, then pour the sauce over the peppers.

  • Sichimi (Seven Flavor Chili powder)
  • ½ cup mixture of Worcestershire sauce and ketchup (optional)

Sprinkle with sichimi and serve.
Or put a half-teaspoon of the Worcestershire sauce/ketchup condiment on each pepper.


14 thoughts on “Japanese Stuffed Peppers

  1. You’re linked! But what happened to your lovely post about the bird?
    (Did you get my email?)

    These little peppers are lovely: they’ve only been appearing in stores here for the past couple of years. No more half peppers drying out in the fridge when you only want a little red or orange for color.

  2. Yes I want to get my hands on some dainty peppers now having seen these. They turn up at the farmers markets or in the organic store here on occasion. I’ve just thrown half a big ‘un in some chilled tomato soup – it’s been hot here.
    I did, I did get your lovely email! And tell Mr Tess it made my day. He is so kind! I will reply to him. He wrote such a thoughtful letter and I love that he emailed it to you first. I want to write a proper reply but I feel a bit flat this week. The heat. The child all grown-up and going to university and away from home for the first time.
    As to my bit of a blog – I have been blogging but somehow created a second blog with a slightly different address and that empty blog is attached to my profile. I need to try to delete the empty blog and edit my profile but as you know I am a bit of a babe in the woods with all this business…
    I’ll email you a proper link or you can just google sermon for a bird – and the real blog shows up.

    • An empty nest! I remember those feelings of the first time she went off to college—crying half the trip home from Chicago, how quiet the house was, not saying ” learn lots and eat all your lunch” as she left for school each morning…

      We both enjoyed your book. I’ve set it aside for a while so I can listen to it again. At the end I was surprised that we couldn’t stay in the world you created any longer—I mean I was so immersed in their lives it didn’t occur to me that there would be a last page… (CD)

      It’s been warm here too: almost 50° on Tuesday! (10°C)

    • If you’d gone with WordPress I could help fix you link! You could export from Blogger to WP…

      Oh, I do have your correct link: in my blogroll on the bottom.

  3. I’m sorry tess over what I’ve done in the forums. I was much tense then and I did not find any other way to relief myself save quitting it. Please forgive me. I wish I were not there.

    • Yes, you have confused and upset quite a few people. Maybe it best to take a break for a while and just concentrate on your blog?

  4. I had deleted my technology blog as I was much dis heart of the sub standard censor system of wodpress. I’ve almost given up blogging. I’m on forums only. Thanks for your advice you really like a mother. I’m much relieved now after talking to you. Adding a quote
    “Tess is by far the nicest of all of the forum volunteers.”

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  8. I never considered a Japanese style stuffed pepper. The sauce looks like it would be a fabulous finishing touch. Thanks for the inspiration you provided for my blog post about stuffed peppers. I have linked to your site!

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