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The pepper is small and finger-long, slender, and thin-walled. Although it turns from green to red upon ripening, it is usually harvested while green. The name refers to the fact that the tip of the chili pepper (唐辛子 tōgarashi?) looks like the head of a lion (獅子 shishi?), and in Japanese it is often abbreviated as shishitō.
The prefectural agricultural testing center at Kishigawa, Wakayama stated in 2005 that capsaicin forms more easily in hot and dry conditions in the summer, and even experts may not be able to distinguish relative hotness on the same plant.
For cooking, a hole is poked in the pepper beforehand to keep expanding hot air from bursting the pepper. It may be skewered then broiled (grilled), or pan-fried in oil, stewed in a soy sauce- and dashi-based liquid, or simply eaten raw in a salad or as a condiment. It is thin-skinned and will blister and char easily compared with thicker-skinned varieties.
- Togarashi, chili pepper in Japan
- Manganji pepper[ja]
- Fushimi pepper (伏見とうがらし?)
- Padrón peppers, a similarly used pepper in Spain
- Murakami, K.; Yamamoto, T.; Fujimoto, K.; Okabe, K.; Masuda, M., Abe, T. and Maeda, K. (2011). "Low-pungent Sweet Pepper Selected under Continuous Fluorescent Illumination". Acta Horticulturae. ISHS. 907: 243–246. Cite uses deprecated parameter
|coauthors=(help), abstract quote: " 'Shishito' (Capsicum annuum L.) is a group of sweet pepper cultivars. Fruits are small, green and non-pungent, but pungent fruits sometimes occur.."
- Matsuhisa, Nobu; Edwards, Mark; Takahashi, Eiichi (2007), Nobu West (preview) (12th ed.), Andrews McMeel Publishing, p. 51, ISBN 9780740765476 states "one in every twelve"
- Yomiuri Shimbun Osaka Honsha (2005), Zatsugaku Shimbun(雑学新聞) (preview), PHP研究所, p. 60, ISBN 9784569644325, also posted by blog:新建設 まめ知識:Q.辛くないシシトウの見分け方はありますか？(retrieved Apr-2012)