Gochujang is spicy, savory, and sweet, making for a unique flavor combination that we love to slather on just about anything. Read on to learn more about our favorite Korean condiment.
What is Gochujang?
Gochujang is a spicy, fiery, crimson-colored fermented paste from Korea, well-known for its blazing hot flavor. This popular chili paste is prepared from a multitude of ingredients including fermented soybeans, red chili powder, glutinous rice, barley malt powder, and salt. Gochujang is traditionally fermented in earthen pots for several years.
Intriguingly, this spicy paste offers an underlying sweetness owing to the fermentation of glutinous rice into sugars. The fermented soybeans on the other hand, add an umami touch to this traditional paste not unlike miso paste. Gochujang is an essential component in Korean cuisine and culture; every year the Sunchang Gochujang festival is held every year in Sunchang, Korea, to celebrate this delicious, spicy paste.
Flavor of Gochujang
The flavor of gochujang is a complex one incorporating spiciness, sweetness, and saltiness, along with a hint of umami. The multi-faceted flavors of gochujang make it somewhat similar to a mix of miso and sriracha, with a slightly greater umami note. However, the strongest taste in gochujang comes from the red chili peppers, which give off a blazing hot spicy kick.
How to Cook with Gochujang?
Gochujang uses in the kitchen vary from soups to stews and salads to steaks. You can freely add a spoonful of gochujang for a spicy-sweet touch to almost any savory dish. Some of the appealing gochujang recipes to try out are our favorite gochujang chicken, gochujang pork, gochujang salmon, gochujang glazed meatloaf, and gochujang sirloin steak.
A popular Korean dish, Bibimbap leverages gochujang as a vital ingredient. Bibimbap is a wholesome meal consisting of a boiled rice bowl topped with sauteed vegetables, finely sliced meat, kimchi, soy sauce, gochujang, and a fried egg. (Try out our bibimbap-style rice bowls with spicy tofu).
Tteokbokki, another Korean specialty is prepared fresh from tossing Korean rice cakes into a spicy and sweet-savory sauce. This gochujang recipe is one of the most popular Korean dishes all around the world.
A rather common gochujang recipe is Korean short ribs that offer a distinct meaty, spicy, and sweet-aromatic taste, which is served over hot plain rice. Gochujang paste not only uplifts the taste but also imparts a tempting red color to the dishes it’s added into. So, are you to ready to spice up your plate with the delectably hot gochujang? Pick some up at your local grocery store or Korean supermarket.