What are Japones Peppers
Japones Peppers (pronounced "ja pon aaas"), Capsicum annuum, are also called hontaka, santaka, and Oriental chile peppers. These are often confused with the Japanese specialty pepper Yatsufusa which is also known as chiles Japones.
These chiles are very light and there are approximately 35 chiles per ounce.
This is a very versatile chile and is one of the most common dried red chiles. In larger urban areas these can be found relatively easily in various Mexican bodegas as well as Indian, Korean and other Asian markets. You'll often find these in bulk bins and they're almost always missing their caps and stems.
A small, pointed chile that is about 2" long and ½" wide, Japones Peppers resemble De Arbol Chiles in appearance but the walls of the Japones are thicker and meatier.
Japones chiles are popular in Caribbean and Latin American cuisine while also being a popular chile in Chinese and Japanese dishes.
What do Japones Chiles Taste Like
The Japones Chile has a very clean and biting taste and the dried version has a more distinctive taste than the fresh as the drying process tends to intensify the flavor. Japones peppers are not considered to be spicy but are used more for pure simple heat.
Which is Hotter De Arbol Chiles or Japones Chiles
We considered Japones Peppers to be a hot chile, measuring between 15,000-30,000 SHU (Scoville Heat Units).
De Arbol Chiles are also considered a hot chiles and tip the scales at 15,000 – 30,000 SHU.
What are Japones Peppers Used For?
The cuisines of southeastern Asia tend to gravitate towards using chiles that do not have complex flavor profiles. This allows better balance with the heavy usage of the very flavorful and widely used spices cilantro, garlic and lemongrass.
In Hong Kong markets you'll find large bags of chiles ubiquitously labeled "Chinese Chiles". These chiles tend to be either Thai Bird Chiles or Japones chiles and they're quite popular in the local crab shacks and dim sum houses. Japones are a key ingredient in Hunan and Sichuan style dishes.
You'll find these fiery chiles used in chutneys, salsas, sauces, and stir-fries. The Japones Pepper's high heat, little flavor and slim form make them ideal for liquid infusions, like hot pepper oils and vodkas. They're frequently steeped in vegetable oils to release and enhance their flavor. Japones are used by innovative bakers and added to breads.
We especially like these in Hot Peanut Sauces, Thai Basil Curry dishes, and in Vegetable Jalfrezi.
Japones chiles may be used whole or ground or roasted whole, or broken, in a dry hot pan. We've also finely minced them and added to everything from barbecue sauces to relishes.
Japones Peppers Substitution
If you have a dish that calls for Japones Peppers but don’t have any you can also use De Arbol Chiles as they have the same heat level but if you crave a bit more heat then you can also use either Tien Tsin chiles (50,000 – 70,000 SHU) or Thai chiles (70,000 – 130,000 SHU).
History of Japones Peppers
Some believe that Japones get their name from the Spanish word for Japanese. Chile historians believe that the Japones Pepper is indigenous to Jalisco in the central valley of Mexico although they are not widely used in Mexican cuisine. Because of this there is little to no historical information of significance on this chile in that country.
In a recent genomic study that presented the results of a high-throughput genotyping-by-sequencing (GBS) study results showed that Chile Japones’, several different cultivars of Serrano Chiles, Jalapenos, and De Arbol Chiles were closely related to "the mother of all chiles" Chiltepíns1.
Cultivating Japones Chiles
Japones Chiles are grown in Veracruz and San Luis Potos, Mexico2. The Japones chile plant grows in upright clusters of 5 to 6 pods at the top of an 18" to 24" tall bushy plant. This pepper variety is quite productive producing hundreds of pods per plant3, typically 60-120 chiles. The chiles ripen from green to red and mature in 70-80 days.
Where are Japones Peppers From?
Ours Japones chiles are cultivated in India.
|Also Called||Hontaka, santaka, Oriental chile peppers or Chinese chiles|
|Recommended Uses||Used in chutneys, dim sum, infused oil, salsas, sauces and stir fries|
|Flavor Profile||Clean and biting taste with the dried version having s a more distinctive taste than fresh|
|Scoville Heat Units||15,000 - 30,000 SHU|
|Botanical Name||Capsicum annuum|
|Cuisine||Caribbean, Chinese, Japanese, and Latin American|
|How To Store||Airtight container in a cool, dark place|
|Shelf Life||1-2 years|
|Country of Origin||India|
|Dietary Preferences||Gluten Free, Kosher, Non-GMO|
Hungry for More Information
1 Pereira-Dias, L., Vilanova, S., Fita, A., Prohens, J., & Rodríguez-Burruezo, A. (2019). ). Genetic diversity, population structure, and relationships in a collection of pepper (Capsicum spp.) landraces from the Spanish centre of diversity revealed by genotyping-by-sequencing (GBS). Horticulture Research, 6(1).
2 Dewitt, D. (1999). The Chile Pepper Encyclopedia: Everything You’ll Ever Need To Know About Hot Peppers, With More Than 100 Recipes (1st ed.). William Morrow Cookbooks.
3 Japones Chiles . (n.d.). HR Seeds. Retrieved January 16, 2022.
Serving Size1 chile, 0.8g
Amount Per Serving
% Daily Value*