If you like Sriracha, then you would love Gochujang-the not-yet-famous hot sauce from Korea. Gochujang (pronounced as go-choo-jong) is a force in Korean cooking.
It is a spicy, fermented hot sauce that is used in stews, sauces, soups, broths, as well as in meat and fish marinades. It has a funky (in a good way!), savoury, and slightly sweet taste.
Gochujang makes use of different varieties of red pepper which tend to vary in their levels of heat. So when you buy Gochujang from the store, always look at the ‘heat rating’ on the bottle. A level 2 or 3 rating is typically what most people can tolerate.
Do not mistake Gochujang as just another in-your-face chilli sauce. It has a complex, hot-sweet-savoury flavour that adds fire to your food. It does give a boost to many dishes and can take any savoury dish to a whole new level.
Gochujang has a thick paste-like consistency. So while you cannot squirt it out of a bottle like you’d hoisin or other sauces, it imparts thickness to curries and stews.
Also, it has a lovely brick-red color. These properties go on to enhance the color, taste, and flavor of dishes paired with gochujang sauce.
Being highly concentrated, a little goes a long way. Just a teaspoon of Gochujang can add tons of heat and flavor to your soups, stews, meat or fish marinades, sandwiches, wraps, burgers, and pretty much any dish that you want to enhance.
Gochujang maybe Korean at heart but it finds use in millions of dishes across cuisines around the globe. The adventurous and flexible sauce can be used to add personality to soups, Chinese and Indian curries, American barbecues, and Japanese foods.
You can even blend it with your ranch dressing, honey-mustard sauce, mayo, ketchup, or barbecue sauce to add depth and slow-burning heat to these dipping sauces. Add a teaspoon of Gochujang to your hearty vinaigrettes, stews, or chilli bowls for amazing results.
Gochujang can liven up everyday fare like fries, burgers, wraps, subs, sandwiches, and bagels to take them to extraordinary heights. It is no wonder that many people get addicted to this condiment!Print
Gochujang is a Korean sauce or condiment made using chilli peppers, sticky rice powder, and soya beans.
The sauce is fermented for a tangy, savoury, and sweetish flavor that is unique and interesting.
The process of fermentation not only enhances the taste and color of the Gochujang, but also adds tons of wellbeing benefits to it.
- Korean malt powder – ¾ cup. This is readily available in Korean stores and is an essential ingredient of homemade Gochujang.
- Water – 2 ½ cups
- 1 cup sweet or glutinous rice flour. This is flour made from short-grained rice.
- 1 cup Korean chilli powder (gochugaru)
- ½ cup fermented soybean powder
- Kosher salt – ½ cup
- In a bowl, mix the malt and water. Stir well to combine and strain the mixture into a large stock pot.
- Place the pot on the stove on medium heat. Simmer the soup; do not boil it. You have to heat the soup for at least 25 minutes.
- Remove the soup from the heat and add in the sweet rice flour to form a sticky paste.
- Mix the paste well and let it cool to room temperature.
- Add the chilli powder and soybean powder. Mix well and then add half of the salt.
- Cover the mixture and let it stand overnight.
- In an earthenware pot, sprinkle some salt and pour the paste in. Sprinkle some more salt on the top.
- Ensure that there is some headspace above the paste in the earthen pot. This way; the Gochujang can breathe. Loosely cover the pot with a lid. An earthenware pot is ideal for making Gochujang as it helps the sauce breathe. However, if you do not have one, you can use a glass jar and cover it with cheesecloth.
- Place your pot in a sunny spot during the day. Bring it indoors if the weather turns cold or rainy. Stir the Gochujang daily. You must do this for at least 3 weeks.
- At the end of the 3 weeks, taste your Gochujang. Ferment it longer if you want a deeper color and richer taste.
- You can transfer the sauce in smaller jars and store it in the refrigerator for up to a year.
How long does gochujang last?
Store-bought gochujang can easily last for a year. Make sure you refrigerate it after opening. Homemade gochujang can also last for 6-8 months in the refrigerator.
What is gochujang powder?
Gochujang is always available in the form of a red paste. When we talk about gochujang powder, it means fermented gochujang mejus.
Mejus are soybeans and rice taken in specific proportions and fermented and matured at room temperature for 2-3 months.
These mejus are often stored in the form of dried donut-shaped balls. Later, they can be powdered and used for making the gochujang marinades. The powder can also be used in soups, stews, and broths for additional flavour and wellbeing benefits.
Is there a vegan and gluten-free variant of gochujang available?
You can easily find vegan gochujang. However, traditional gochujang is always made with glutinous rice. The recipe also contains barley malt which may not be suitable for gluten-sensitive people.
Some brands have started manufacturing gluten-free and vegan variants. Else, you can always take the homemade approach.
What can I use instead of gochujang?
You can substitute Thai chilli paste or even Sriracha in recipes that call for gochujang. However, no other hot sauce can truly mimic the spicy, tangy, and sweetish flavour of this condiment.
Is gochujang really spicy?
Gochujang can be very spicy depending on the variety of peppers or Korean chilli powder used. Commercial gochujang available in high-end grocery stores or Asian markets typically enlists the levels of spiciness; levels 1 to 3 are usually moderately spicy.
Sriracha better watch its back! Gochujang is soon going to take over. And if you haven’t already tried out this condiment; then you must soon do so.
You can always try the homemade version given above but if you aren’t the DIY type, then go in for the commercial gochujang.