Sweet pepper and carrot confetti

pepper-carrot-confetti.jpg

I am calling this colorful dish confetti, because it's not quite assertively flavored enough to call it furikake. It is sort of a no-sugar (low-carb) and much lower calorie variation of Cooked to Death Hot and Sweet Peppers, though I have made the hot peppers optional. Even with no added sugar or sweetener, I think the natural sweetness of the vegetables comes through nicely. It's a really useful vegetable side dish, to just pack on the side or sprinkle on top of rice or other things. You could also fold in a spoonful into tamagoyaki to make it really colorful. It can be kept in the refrigerator for a few days, or frozen.

Recipe: Sweet pepper and carrot confetti

Make about 2 cups

  • 2 large red sweet bell peppers
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 1/2 small onion (or use the white part of a green onion)
  • 1 hot red chili pepper (optional)
  • 1 1/2 cups (360ml) vegetable stock or dashi stock - or water with 1/2 tsp. dashi stock granules
  • 2 tsp. soy sauce or to taste
  • Sansho pepper or black pepper

Cut the bell peppers and carrot into small dice. Chop up the onion very finely. If you are using the chili pepper, de-seed it and chop it up finely.

Heat up a shallow sauté pan or frying pan on high heat, and add the stock or dashi and bring to a boil. Add the vegetables, and cook while stirring until the vegetables are tender and the moisture has evaporated. You should cook them to the point where the vegetables are getting a bit caramelized on the surface - this brings out their sweetness. Season with soy sauce and pepper to taste.

Speaking of seasoning to taste...

I don't know why (though it may be because there have been more and more new readers coming to the site), but these past couple of weeks I've been hearing complaints from people saying that my recipes are too "lightly flavored" or too "strongly flavored". (To make it even more confusing, they're split just about 50-50.) For example, a recent mostly positive review of my book that appeared in the Sunday edition of the Straits Times in Singapore says that the recipes are 'too lightly flavored', while a recent comment to my Tuna Soboro with Ginger recipe wails that it's a horrible recipe because it's "too strongly flavored". Besides tearing out my hair, I can just assume that they have problems with the salt content. And yes, I've heard people saying that something is too salty or not salty enough too.

Some foods, like furikake, are meant to be paired with something bland, like plain rice, so are a bit more assertively flavored and salty. Some foods are saltier because they need to be for preservative purposes, like pickles. Generally speaking, I do try to go a bit lighter on the salt and soy sauce and so on than most traditional Japanese recipes do; however, since they are meant to be eaten together with the bland foil that is plain rice, I guess they can seem salty to some people. But beyond all that, recipes are meant to be a starting point, especially when it comes to seasonings, and specifically the addition of salt or salty flavorings like soy sauce. Everyone's tastebuds are different after all. I can't go back and change all my recipes to say 'season to taste', but that is implied anyway.

I'm hoping that people get that... ^_^;