Cooked to death hot and sweet peppers


Greenhouse grown peppers are available year round, but summer is when peppers are really in season. I picked up a bushel load of colorful hot and sweet peppers at a market last week, and some of them turned into this item which is great for bento.

It couldn’t be easier to make, but does take a little time. A mixture of mildly hot chili peppers and sweet peppers are briefly stir fried in sesame oil, then simmered for about half an hour or more. The peppers are falling-apart soft, spicy, sweet and salty. It’s great to tuck into the corner of a bento box, and, well drained of the cooking liquid, also makes a great and unusual filling for onigiri (rice balls).

My grandmother used to make this kind of ‘cooked to death’ or until very limp (kuta-kuta ni) vegetable dish quite a bit. It’s a great way to reduce a big pile of vegetables to a manageable eating amount. This method works well with green beans too. I think it’s rather similar to the way some vegetables such as greens are cooked for a long time in American Southern cooking. I’m no nutrionist, but you do eat all of the ‘cooking liquor’ alongside the vegetables, so nutrition loss may not be so bad, though raw-food advocates may shudder.

The key here is the selection of peppers. The spicy chili pepppers should only be mildly spicy. In Japan you would use shishito peppers. Here I used a variety from Italy that I’m not sure of the variety name of, but it is similarly thin-walled and mild enough not to burn my mouth. Jalapeños or anchos might be good choices too. For the sweet peppers, I used the long red peppers that are called banana peppers, Hungarian peppers or paprikas, depending on who is selling them and where.

Recipe: Cooked to death hot and sweet peppers

  • About 10 to 12 small mildly spicy green chili peppers such as shishito or jalapeños
  • 4 large long sweet red peppers (You can use green or pale yellow ones instead, but red is more festive and sweeter)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 Tbs. dark sesame oil
  • 2 Tbs. soy sauce
  • 1 Tbs. mirin or sweet sherry
  • 1 Tbs. brown sugar
  • Water

De-seed the peppers. Cut the small chili peppers in to 3 to 4 pieces, and the sweet red peppers into pieces of about the same size. Chop the garlic clove finely.

Heat up a pan with the sesame oil. Add the garlic, and follow with the peppers. Sauté for a few minutes, then add just enough water to barely cover, and the seasoning. Bring up to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer, and cook until the liquid is reduced to less than half. Take out the pepper pieces, and continue to reduce the cooking liquid until almost gone and syrupy. Add the peppers back, and continue simmering until the liquid is just about gone.

This keeps in the refrigerator for about a week. Use sparingly as a secondary vegetable in bento boxes, as an onigiri filling (drain off the liquid to prevent seeping), mixed with other vegetables or meat or tofu, in sandwiches, mixed with noodles, and more.

See also

Sweet Pepper and Onion Confit is similar, but different!

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This looks really good! I’ve been wanting to make some onigiri with an interesting filling and I think this will be perfect. thanks for the recipe!

Made these today using more

Made these today using more spicy and less sweet. They are very good!

Re: Cooked to death hot and sweet peppers

I'm going to have to try this, only reduce the spicy pepper quota down to just a single jalepeño, or a less-spicy pepper to taste (I'm not a fan of super spicy, but love the taste of cooked bell peppers.) And I'm using three large bell peppers I was going to cook for the sweet pepper and onion confit.

Re: Cooked to death hot and sweet peppers

This is similar to a Central European thing called lecho. My wife would trade me into indentured servitude for 1/2 liter of lecho in a to-go container.

Re: Cooked to death hot and sweet peppers

Just made a half-portion of this (only 2 peppers in the fridge) and it's yum. Long time lurker...
Your 1-egg tamagoyaki has become my go-to protein, and I've stocked my freezer with a bunch of your recipes- fritattas, potato soboro croquettes, and marinated meats all portioned out to go in the morning. Going on 2 months now of 4-6 bento lunches a week- much better than the skim-latte-w-muffin lunches I have been doing (hangs head in shame).

Re: Cooked to death hot and sweet peppers

Any chance this would survive freezing? Deseeding the little green peppers was quite annoying, therefore I think of making a huge portion next time and freeze it in little portions.

Re: Cooked to death hot and sweet peppers

Just wondering... once you cut up the peppers, about how many cups/ounces/grams are used in this recipe? I made it once before and it turned out tasty, but I think my proportions were a little off because it's hard to figure out the amount of peppers to use when using different styles/shapes of peppers. So, I'd love to know how many cups of spicy peppers and how many cups of mild peppers. Thanks!

Re: Cooked to death hot and sweet peppers

You should have about 2 cups of sweet peppers, and maybe 1/4 cup of the mildly hot peppers, when they are chopped. Adjust the amounts to suit your own tastes though!

Re: Cooked to death hot and sweet peppers

In case someone is interested...I've recently tested freezing this (since no one could answer my question above) and it worked well.

Re: Cooked to death hot and sweet peppers

i'm romanian, and my grandmother makes something in this vein (i think her dish is of serbian inspiration). it makes my taste buds go insane. the fact that this goes in the context of japanese food just made my day. this site is a blessing. :)

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