Gochujang: Why You NEED it in your Kitchen

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Why Gochujang Paste needs a place in your kitchen cabinet

gochujang

While all global cuisines have their charm, Asian cuisines are incredibly appealing and delicious.

They have the perfect blend of sweet and savoury flavours and are also extremely fresh.

Asian food is bursting with flavour, and no matter what you eat, it packs a punch. While the freshness of the ingredients is also important, this cuisine uses various spices and pastes to enhance the flavour of each dish.

You might be familiar with soy sauce, oyster sauce and fish sauce, to name a few, but you might not know of gochujang sauce. Gochujang sauce is an incredibly popular Korean sauce that adds immense flavour to any dish.

Made with various ingredients, this sauce packs a punch in terms of flavour and colour. If you’re interested in learning more about this delicious paste, keep reading below.

What Is Gochujang?

gochujang being poured

Gochujang is a Korean red chilli paste, which is popular in Korean cooking. Gochujang is a dark, reddish paste with a rich, piquant flavour.

You can store it in the fridge for two years, making it worth the effort to make.

Making Gochujang can take three to six months because you have to store the paste in a clay pot and age it in the sun.

The taste of gochujang ranges from mild to moderately hot, depending on the spice blend used.

It's Uses

You can use Gochujang in many dishes, such as salads, soups, stews and many other popular dishes and also marinate meat. It has a lovely, complex taste that adds immense depth to the food.

It can not only make dishes spicier but also make them sweeter and smokier. It’s used most often as a base for stews such as Korean army stew, spicy Korean stir fry and tteokbokki.

Gochujang paste is quite pungent, so it’s typically mixed with other ingredients to balance its intensity. You can also mix it with oil or vinegar and serve it as a sauce.

Health Benefits of Gochujang​

There are many health benefits of eating gochujang.

Vitamins

Gochujang includes vitamins B2 and vitamin C, which stabilize your metabolism by processing the calories from fat and carbohydrates.

It helps to lower your body weight and suppress your appetite.

Good for gut health

Gochujang promotes the same gut health benefits as kombucha due to the fermentation process. Fermented foods are incredibly high in antioxidants and help balance the bacteria levels in your gut.

Having a healthy gut is often one of the most important precursors of overall health, so it’s important to add these foods to your diet.

Decreases stress levels

Studies prove that gochujang can help you with your stress. Its consumption helps significantly reduce total cholesterol and even stress. Many Koreans eat spicy food when they want to relieve stress.

Having some of this sweet, smoky yet spicy sauce can help you blow off some steam – quite literally!

Recipes for Gochujang

Making gochujang paste is simple but time-consuming. An incredibly important tool to have is a porous pot to hold the paste as it ferments.

You need fine red chilli powder, sweet rice powder, sea salt, milled malt barley, rice syrup, fermented soybean powder, and water to make gochujang.

Spicy beef soba noodle salad is a very healthy and easy recipe to make. It has beef, soba noodle and lots of fresh vegetables twangy spicy gochujang dressing.

Another recipe is steamed chicken breast with gochujang glaze. This recipe is cooked in less than 20 minutes, and its taste is sublime.

These recipes surely help you to find new ways to use your gochujang paste.

toppokki

Where to Buy

Now it is available in many countries, and you can buy Gochujang Tesco from grocery stores or markets.

If you didn’t find it near you, then you can order online from many stores that specialize in Korean ingredients or even amazon. 

FAQ's

How do you know if it’s expired?

If gochujang paste is old and bad, it will be dehydrated and stickier. Its taste might be affected too, and it may have a smell.

Its colour will also have gotten darker red instead of vibrant red.

What can I use instead of Gochujang?

If you don’t have gochujang paste, you can blend it with miso paste and Korean red chilli pepper powder.

It will give you a similar salty, spicy and sweet umami flavour profile gochujang is best known for. If you want to add a hot punch into your dish, but don’t have Gochujang, consider using Thai chilli paste. Sriracha chilli sauce can also be a decent substitute for this Korean chilli paste.

You can add a little sugar and soya sauce in it, too, for a smokier, sweeter taste.

What does Gochujang taste like?

Gochujang’s taste is sweet, savoury and spicy. Its sweetness comes from the sweet rice, cultured with saccharifying enzymes during the fermentation process.

Gochujang has heat, and it can be extraordinarily spicy. However, it has many other flavours, too, as it is salty, robust, sweet, and has meaty depth.

You can add this paste to give your dish a special flavour.

bibimbap with gochujang

Is Gochujang similar to Sriracha?

Sriracha is similar to gochujang in taste, but there are some key differences. In sriracha sauce, the major component is garlic, and you won’t find it in gochujang.

Gochujang also has a sweet, smoky depth that sriracha lacks.

What is Gochujang sauce made of?

If this is your first time hearing about this paste, you might be wondering what is gochujang?

Gochujang is made from chilli powder, fermented soybean powder, barley malt powder, salt, rice powder and chilli powder.

You can also add pumpkin and sweet potato to make your variation of this special sauce.

You can also add a small amount of sugar and honey to sweeten the sauce and reduce the kick of the spice powder.

Conclusion

Gochujang paste is one of the most popular sauces in Korea, and you can use it on anything and everything. You can add it to pasta dishes and soups for that extra kick or drizzle it over fried food to make it taste even better.

However, it isn’t just a tasty sauce but is also immensely healthy. The fermentation process and wholesome clean, healthy ingredients give it a host of health benefits.

So, don’t wait too long and order yourself a jar soon.

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Andy Canter

Andy

Ever since I started cooking I’ve been fascinated by how different people’s techniques are and how they best utilise the ingredients around them. Even the person living next door will have their own unique way of frying an egg or cooking a salmon fillet.

This fascination led me on a journey across the globe to discover the countless practices and traditions the world of cooking has to offer. I thought you’d enjoy and find value in sharing that journey with me so I created Cooked Best! 

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