Chirimenjako is the Kansai region name for small dried whitebait fish, often from Japanese anchovy, herring or sardine. If it is boiled instead of dried, it is called shirasu. Now before trying it, I wasn’t a big fan of little dried fish, but this dish packs a nutritious punch along with its crunch, and works great as a yummy side. If you’re low on calcium, give it a try – you might find yourself addicted to this tasty snack!
Outside of Japan, you can look for chirimenjako in Asian grocery stores, or if all else fails, try replacing it with small dried sardines, or drained canned tuna.
The other main ingredient in this dish is piman, or Japanese green bell pepper, which got its name from the French word for hot pepper, piment. This one isn’t hot though – it tastes the same as a typical green bell pepper, but is smaller, so adjust the quantity depending on the type you’re using.
Green Pepper and Chirimenjako Stir Fry
- 4 piman or 2-3 larger bell peppers
- 2 tbsp chirimenjako or other small dried fish (or 1 small can of tuna in water, drained)
- 2 tsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp sake
- 1 tsp mirin
- Mix the seasoning ingredients.Slice the piman or peppers lengthwise, removing the seeds.
- Heat a pan to medium-high, add the chirimenjako and stir fry without oil until they begin to brown.
- Add the piman, reduce the heat to medium and continue to stir fry until they start to soften.
- Add the seasoning ingredients and continue to stir fry until almost all the liquid has evaporated. Dish out and enjoy!