This variety is celebrated as the “King of Japanese Chili Peppers,” is a traditional specialty of Kyoto, Japan, known for its thick, soft, and sweet flesh. This pepper was developed near Maizuru City in Kyoto nearly a century ago by crossing the slightly spicy Fushimi Tōgarashi with a bell pepper. This crossbreeding has resulted in a pepper that combines a rich earthiness with a mild heat.
In terms of heat level, Manganji peppers are typically very mild, around 100 SHU. Put this in comparison to a jalapeño which averages 5,000 SHU. This makes them suitable for a wide range of palates, especially those who prefer milder flavors. Despite being mild, they occasionally have a subtle kick, adding a unique dimension to various dishes.
Culinary wise, Manganji peppers are useful. Their thick and sweet flesh makes them ideal for a range of cooking methods including roasting, braising, grilling, and frying. The peppers can be used in classic Japanese preparations, such as skillet-roasting and finishing with smoky katsuo-bushi flakes or grated ginger for a vegetarian or vegan-friendly option. They are also excellent when slit, stuffed, and seared, showcasing their ability to blend well with a variety of ingredients and flavors.