Gochujang may or may not be a word you immediately recognize. If you shop in Korean or Asian markets, you may have noticed the large plastic tubs of hot pepper paste. That is gochujang. It is a staple of Korean cooking, providing kick and depth of flavor to many dishes. You can think of it as the Korean equivalent of spicy miso if you’re familiar with that. There are lots of fun and delicious ways to use gochujang in a variety of dishes. Read on for more details and ideas and give it a chance the next time you’re looking for something new to try!
What’s In It?
Like any other condiment, different varieties have slightly different ingredients and flavors. Generally, gochujang is a combination of red chile paste, glutinous rice, fermented soybeans, salt, and sweeteners (sometimes). Different varieties also have different heat levels, so check the packaging for a spice-level. There may be one available that suits your tastes, even if you don’t love super hot things – and remember, you use it in foods, not on top of foods, so the flavor does even out. The product itself is a thick, slightly sticky paste that offers a pungent flavor and concentrated heat.
How Do You Use It?
The key to gochujang is to remember that a little goes a long way. If you cook with miso paste, it is the same type of situation. The paste is very thick, so it is usually thinned out with some sort of liquid, like a marinade or sauce. Bulgogi marinade, for instance, often uses gochujang as the main flavor component, but it is also a popular addition to dipping sauces, soups, and stews in Korean cooking. Since it often has sugar, it may cause meats to burn more easily, so keep that in mind if you’re using it to marinate your Korean barbecue meats.
How Do You Store It?
Gochujang has a long shelf life but once the container is opened it needs to be stored in the refrigerator. You can continue to use it as long as it hasn’t dried out or changed color. Since a little goes a long way, you may have a lot left over. If you do, consider sharing it with friends or mixing it into other recipes to provide an interesting kick.
Get All Your Asian Groceries at Lotte Plaza Market
Lotte Plaza Market is your one-stop shop for all of your Korean and Asian grocery needs. With more than 10 locations in Maryland and Virginia, this growing market is always expanding and opening new markets to serve our customers better. Since we opened in 1976, our goal has always been to provide the best customer service and groceries to our customers. For answers to all of your questions, please email us at LottePlaza.com.