I’ve been having fun exploring the flavors of various Asian cuisines. I was on a Chinese food kick for a while, and then switched to Indian, and have dabbled a little in Japanese. Most recently, my family has been enjoying trying Korean food. I’ve got one Korean recipe already on the site: Bulgogi (Korean beef) and I’ve been promising to share some of our new favorites. So here you go!
What Is Gochujang?
Gochujang is a condiment. It’s a red paste made with Korean ground chile peppers and it’s got ALL the flavors. It’s savory, a little bit sweet, and has a nice kick of heat (but not too much!).
Gochujang paste has plenty of uses in Korean cuisine. As far as I know, it’s added to soups and stews, dolloped on top of rice bowls, used as a meat rub, and stirred into stir fry.
I like to make it into a sauce. I sometimes add some honey, sesame oil, and coconut aminos and make it into a wing sauce. Or I’ll mix it into mayo to make a dipping sauce or burger topping. Recipes coming soon!
Just keep in mind that gochujang paste is thick like tomato paste and gochujang sauce is thinner like tomato sauce. So if you find a Korean recipe, pay attention to which ingredient is called for. It’s super easy to make the paste and also easy to make the paste into a sauce, so once you’ve made the paste you’re all set for either scenario!
Step 1: Find some Gochugaru Pepper Flakes
The first and most important ingredient in making gochujang paste is dried ground gochugaru peppers. It’s a product similar in texture to the chili powder used commonly in the U.S., but that’s where the comparison ends.
Gochugaru pepper flakes are a brighter shade of red because they’re not roasted. And don’t be tempted to sub cayenne pepper! Gochugaru is made with different peppers that aren’t nearly as spicy.
If you have an Asian food store near you, you can probably find them there. If not, you can look on Amazon. This is the one that I use.
Step 2: Make Gochujang Paste
First, a disclaimer: I am well aware that this is not how you make traditional gochujang paste. That takes months! I am also aware that these are not the exact ingredients used in making a faster version of gochujang paste. I was going for a product with a similar taste, but ingredients that I’m comfortable feeding my family and usually have on hand.
My gochujang paste recipe is gluten-free and has the sweet, savory, slightly spicy flavors of any gochujang paste at the store.
So, to make my gochujang paste, I blend together white miso, gochugaru flakes, honey or maple syrup, coconut aminos, rice vinegar, and garlic and onion powder. The whole process takes about 2 minutes start to finish. I highly recommend giving this recipe a try, especially if you want to one of my favorite recipes, Korean Gochujang chicken wings!
I also love to add this to my pickled radish recipe for a zesty, nutritious, and definitely not boring condiment.
Homemade Gochujang Paste Recipe
- Food processor or immersion blender
- Place all ingredients in a mini food processor.
- Pulse until combined.
- Taste and adjust sweetness as needed by adding more honey/maple syrup.
- Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to two weeks.
Do you like Korean food? What’s your favorite?