I have a thing for anything Asian flavored, more specifically Japanese. I mean who doesn’t love a plate of MSG + Happiness that leaves you with hulk like sweats and hot flashes?
Kidding (but not totally kidding).
Which is why I prefer to make most of my Japanese dishes at home, where I know exactly how much soy sauce (a $#IT ton) and any other ingredient that will make my hands swell into giant sausages, goes into my dish (avoiding MSG at all costs, unless I am making Ramen. that bowl just doesn’t taste the same without it).
Actually it is just straight up more affordable and less humiliating to cook asian food at home and attempt chopsticks for the 100000th time (Yes I lived in Tokyo for a solid 6 1/2 years and still can’t use those mouth splintered utensils if my life depended on it).
No but in all seriousness, I could eat Japanese out or in but prefer eating in. Because then I can eat way more than socially acceptable.
Grilled Shishito Peppers & Chicken Thighs. Probably not a combination you’ll regularly find in a Japanese restaurant, but I mean, that is the best part about home cooking….bring on the fusion and ADD.
This dish was inspired by a Japanese staple (at least when I lived there) called Tsukune, which are basically Japanese chicken meatballs served yakitori style (on a stick) with a sweet + salty glaze. That literally makes one drool. Granted I didn’t make ANY meatballs in this post, I used a sauce that is similar in flavoring and then tossed the chicken with grilled shishito peppers and garnished with some chopped green onions & black sesame seeds. I also served this dish over cauliflower rice as to keep with the whole healthy thing and because my (human) thighs literally cannot fit into my pants anymore so white sticky rice was 100 percent out of the question. Like in my dreams out of the question, womp womp.
Shishito peppers are available at most grocery stores. Try looking in the pepper section (duh) but keep an eye out because sometimes they are served by the bag in bulk… (Trader Joes sells by the bag, and the perfect amount for this recipe).
You can find “Red Chili Paste” at most grocery stores in the international section, usually next to the red curry paste. Different flavoring so make sure you pick up the right one!
Black sesame seeds aren’t necessary, but they are a pretty garnish and I feel like most people don’t regularly use/see black sesame seeds so it is fun to present the dish all fancay like and people will be totally talking about you for days.
“Hank, did you see that Julia used black sesame seeds? Wow she is like so cool”
“Yeah Sally, they sort of looked like bugs and freaked me the F out”
Grilled Shishito Peppers & Chicken Thighs
3 cups shishito peppers
1.5 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 bunch green onions, chopped small rings
1 tbsp sesame oil
black sesame seeds
Salt & Pepper
2 tbsp rice vinegar
3 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
1 tbsp dark brown sugar
1/2 lime, squeezed
1 tsp roasted red chili paste
1 tsp ground ginner
1 tbsp dijon mustard (smooth)
Salt & Pepper to taste
First, if using a grill pan, set over stove and turn heat to high (if using a grill just set a pan directly over a high flame).
Next lightly toss your shishito peppers in a bit of sesame oil (only about a tsp) and toss on grill when ready.
Char on all sides for about 6-8 minutes and then remove. Sprinkle with Salt & Pepper, set aside.
Next Take sauce ingredients and whisk together in a small bowl, set aside.
Place a medium sized skillet over medium high heat. Add 1 tbsp sesame oil and heat up.
Salt & Pepper both sides of chicken thighs and then add to hot pan (best to arrange thighs in a circle facing the same way so you don’t overcook one side by accident!)
Let chicken cook, covered, for 6 minutes on one side. Flip chicken over and then add 1/2 of the sauce.
Cover and let cook again for an additional 6 minutes. Remove cover and add rest of sauce, wiggling around the chicken to make sure that the bottom is coated. Let chicken continue to cook for another 3-4 minutes (or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F) and sauce begins to thicken.
Remove from heat and toss in your shishito peppers & garnish with green onions & black sesame seeds.
Serve over cauliflower rice or white sushi rice.
*** You can’t necessarily OVERCOOK your chicken thighs, so if you are hesitant that they aren’t done just slice into one to make sure (if you are without a thermometer) They are very difficult to dry out which is why I LOVE using thighs vs breasts.