I don’t love green bell peppers. There, I said it. They have a bitterness that I’ve always found a little off-putting. When a recipe calls for them, I often substitute red bell peppers instead. But if there’s one thing I like less than green bell peppers, it’s food waste. And a couple weeks ago, I got a bunch of green bell peppers in my CSA box. (CSA stands for community supported agriculture. Local farmers let you buy in on the harvest before the growing season, and then each week you get locally raised fresh produce. Great support for local farmers, great food for you. To find one in your area, check out Local Harvest.)
So that’s how these Braised Peppers were born. I funked them up with some fun Asian ingredients, and for the first time in my life I actually enjoyed a green bell pepper dish. And I look forward to making it again. You can absolutely make this with red bell peppers instead, but I hope you try it with the green peppers; their assertive flavor works really well here.
Funky Braised Peppers
I approached making these Braised Peppers by first reaching for some of my favorite flavor boosters. Dried shrimp for a briny funk, and fish tofu for both texture and flavor. Fish tofu looks like firm tofu, and has a similar chewy texture, but it’s actually made from fish. It’s a fun and surprising ingredient that also packs a lot of protein, and it’s already conveniently made into bite sized pieces. You can use any other fish cakes that look appealing to you at your Asian market- there is a dizzying array. Oyster sauce adds a sweet complexity, and a drizzle of toasted sesame oil brings an appealing nuttiness.
So full disclosure, it seems like there are an awful lot of ingredients in this “green pepper” dish. I know, but baby steps. And I wanted to make sure there were plenty of other ingredients I love in the dish, just in case I didn’t love the peppers. So for those of you who are equally hesitant, I promise this is the green pepper dish for you!
Once the veggies have been stir fried, it’s time to add the liquids and braise. Braising is an old technique used around the world, and if you typically eat your veggies raw or quickly cooked, it can be a revelation. The soft silky texture and muted flavors are so delicious and can pleasantly surprise even those who typically don’t love vegetables.
These Braised Peppers are hearty enough to serve on their own with some steamed rice. But they also make a great side to my Mom’s Chicken, or serve them with a few other veggies dishes like Brown Butter Enoki and Japanese Style Spinach for a lighter meal.
Either way, this is a great recipe to convert you to green bell peppers, which are plentiful and inexpensive right now. Let me know what you think by rating and commenting on the recipe below; we love hearing from you! And of course tag us in your pics @funkyasiankitchen.Print
- 4 green peppers (or a mix of red and green)
- 1 large onion
- 2 Tablespoons neutral oil
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 2 Tablespoons dried shrimp
- 1 pack (7.5 oz) fish tofu (or other fish cakes)
- 2 Tablespoons oyster sauce
- ½ cup chicken stock
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
- Fresh ground pepper to taste
- Cut the peppers in half lengthwise and pull out the stem and seeds. Cut the peppers into thick ½ inch wedges and set aside.
- Trim and peel the outer skin from the onion. Cut it in half and then slice the onion into thin ¼ inch pieces. Set aside.
- Heat a large deep skillet (or a Dutch Oven) over medium high heat for several minutes and add the oil. Swirl the pan to spread the oil and then add the peppers and onions.
- Stir fry for 3 minutes until the onions start to become translucent and the skin on the peppers starts to blister.
- Add the dried shrimp and the garlic and stir them into the vegetables.
- Add the chicken stock and oyster sauce. Stir to combine.
- Bring the pot to a simmer and cover with a lid.
- Lower the heat to medium and simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring a couple of times while the peppers simmer. The peppers should be fully cooked and tender.
- Add the fish tofu to the vegetables and stir to combine.
- Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes without the lid. Add the sesame oil and ground black pepper and stir one last time. Transfer to a deep plate and serve immediately.
Keywords: braised peppers, bell peppers, asian braised peppers, healthy sides, veggies