Kanako's Kitchen

Piman Nikuzume: Bell Peppers stuffed with Meat

Posted in main dish, Recipe by Kanako Noda on November 20, 2009

Just looking at the Japanese name for this dish you can tell that something screwy is going on here: “piman” comes, of course, from the French “piment” – bell pepper. In fact, Piman Nikuzume is a typical example of “Yoshoku” – 洋食 – a “western style meal.” As you can guess, what we have here is a thoroughly Japanified take on Westernness. Really, Yoshoku means “Japanese Style Western Style Meal.”

The stuffing here could just as easily turn into “hambaagu” – you guessed it, Japanese style “hamburger”, which is more like a hamburger steak and a third of the way to a meatball rather than something you’d eat between slices of bread.

In Japan, though, eating just meat is considered a little boring and usually too heavy, so the solution in this case is to encase the hambaagu in vegetables. Of course, just putting a bell pepper around it doesn’t really make a hambaagu lighter, but psychologically, somehow, it becomes much more acceptable to the Japanese palate. For me, also, piman nikuzume is always much nicer to eat than hambaagu: a mongrel dish that tastes like home to me.

Ingredients (for four):


  • Bell pepper -four, the smaller the better
  • Minced pork -250g
  • Minced beef – 250g
    Mixing pork and beef mix will produce the best taste, but it’s ok with beef only.
  • Onions – two
  • Olive oil – one table spoon
  • Egg – one
  • Bread crumbs – one table spoon
  • Salt and pepper
  • Nutmeg – 1/3rd of a teaspoon, grated
  • Flour
  • Worcestershire Sauce and Ketchup


Make the filling: This is basically the same as for making a good, Japanese style hambaagu

  1. Dice the onions
  2. Heat the olive oil and add the onions.
  3. Salt and pepper and stir fry until the onions turns translucent.
  4. Allow the onions to cool in the bowl.
  5. When the onions get cool enough, add the minced meat.
  6. Add the egg, bread crumbs, nutmeg, and one teaspoon of salt.
  7. Massage thoroughly with your hands

click to enlarge

If you want to make Japanese style hamburger (hambaagu), make oval shaped meat balls with this filling. Then make a dent in the center of the hamburger in order to let the heat spread quickly, and grill them.
In Japan it’s popular to eat the hambaagu with a mix of Wostershire Sauce and Ketchup sauce.

Preparation of bell peppers:

  1. Cut the bell peppers in half
  2. Take away the seeds and the stem carefully. Don’t break the green peppers: they are the container.
  3. Sprinkle flour around the inside of the peppers. This stops the meat coming apart from the pepper when you cook it.
  4. Stuff the meat filling in the bell peppers. The point is to stuff the peppers a little more than seems right, then make a dent in the center of the filling.
  5. Sprinkle again the flour over the stuffed green peppers.
  6. Make the sauce: Mix equal parts Wostershire Sauce and Ketchup.
    (It seems similar to Ton-katsu sauce, but this recipe, I don’t know why, goes better with a homemade mix of Worcestershire Sauce and Ketchup.)

click to enlarge


  1. Cook the stuffed peppers, with the meat part down, covered at medium heat for about 10 minutes.
  2. When the meat part is browned, turn over and cook the pepper part, covered, for about 15 minutes.
  3. When the both sides are well cooked, plate it and serve with sauce.

click to enlarge

For today’s dinner we had Piman nikuzume, rice with chicory itame, Osuimono with somen, nuta and taro nimono.



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2 Responses

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  1. Kepler said, on November 22, 2009 at 12:58 pm

    My knowlede of Japanese culture is rather superficial, mostly based on
    ウルトラマン, マジンガー and マッハGoGoGo, Kurasawa plus universal history.
    I broadened them by first watching and then reading Shogun
    and Shibumi, plus what a nisei friend would tell me. As you can imagine, I still have a lot to learn 🙂

    From Shogun and other books I thought Japanese hardly ate meat or things like garlic or onions before WW2, but
    but lately, first with a book on Japanese cuisine and now thanks to your blog I see Japanese were adapting/eating a lot of imported things even before Meiji times broke in.

    I wonder if there is something like restaurants for hard-core Japanese ur-cuisine and what are the things they offer.

    • kanako said, on November 22, 2009 at 11:23 pm

      Japanese cooking culture is, in fact, very different from what people think in the West. First of all “Japanese food (和食、日本食)” doesn’t necessarily accord with the food Japanese people usually eat in Japan.

      In Japan it seems that you can find the restaurant of the 14th century style. But before that I don’t know.

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