Perhaps you have never heard of gochujang — but if you like Korean food, there’s a good chance you’ve already tried it. The Korean fermented chili paste is becoming increasingly popular among chefs for its earthy spice that packs quite a punch. If you are a fan of sriracha, then gochujang is definitely your next must-have condiment.
Gochujang is a staple of the Korean pantry — a thick paste, similar in consistency to tomato paste or ketchup, that is sweet, spicy, and full of that oh so desirable umami flavor. The flavor of gochujang is distinctly different from the super-popular and increasingly mainstream sriracha (which is made using lots of garlic), and the consistency, though somewhat thicker, makes it an effective substitute in all of your favorite sriracha applications.
Traditionally, every family followed their own recipe for gochujang, making a paste from soy beans, glutinous rice, red chilies and salt, packing it into a clay pot, and leaving it to ferment in the sun for months.
The wonderful thing about gochujang is its versatility. You can use it more traditionally by making Korean-inspired dishes — or use it to amp up your favorite barbecue sauce just as successfully. Add it to soups, marinades, dipping sauces, dressings, mac and cheese — the uses are endless. Anywhere you need an injection of earthy, savory, umami heat, just add some gochujang and enjoy the wonderful flavor of this increasingly popular Korean condiment.