Gochujang

Tip Tuesday 1/17/17

What is Gochujang:

It is a savory, spicy, and pungent fermented Korean paste made from chile peppers, glutinous rice (also known as sticky rice), fermented soybeans, and salt traditionally aged in earthen jars under the sun. The chile peppers provide a healthy amount of lingering heat that’s not burn-your-mouth spicy; the sticky rice brings a touch of sweetness that’s sometimes enhanced by added sugar; and the fermented soybeans act as the miso-like ingredient that gives gochujang it’s “umami” flavor. Gochujang is a staple of Koreans everyday life.

How to use it:

Gochujang isn’t meant to be used as a finishing sauce like sriracha or Tabasco—it’s too aggressive. And although it goes into many traditional Korean dishes, it’s hardly ever used plain for the same reason. “It must be cut with something (sesame oil, crushed garlic, sugar, soy sauce, water, etc). Its used to make kimchi, in marinades, to flavor stews and soups, to make bulgogi and when cut with something it can be used as a condiment.

Where to find it:

You can find gochujang paste at any Korean market or Asian market, where it’s commonly sold in small, red square tubs. (Commercial brands come in varying heat levels, so check the package before purchasing).

Storage: 

Once opened, gochujang should be stored in the refrigerator. Like miso, it has quite a long shelf life. When it starts to dry out, turn color or developed mold then it has reached its end.