What is gochujang?
Gochujang red pepper paste is a traditional Korean condiment used to bring a rich spiciness to soups, jjigae stews and rice-based dishes. Gochujang literally means chilli bean paste, with soybeans, sticky rice and red chilli peppers being three of the key ingredients in this paste. Gochujang is also known as hot bean paste, red chilli paste and Korean chilli paste. The deep red paste has a kimchi-like taste, with complex chilli flavours and a deep savouriness.
How to cook with gochujang?
With hot-spicy-umami flavours, gochujang is a potent addition to stews, soups and marinades - you only need a little to provide a punchy flavour. Gochujang is a key ingredient in jjigae stews and bokkeumbap - kimchi fried rice.
Try mixing the gochujang with doenjang (fermented soybean paste), minced spring onions, garlic, ginger, rice wine and sesame oil to make ssamjang - the dipping sauce for Korean lettuce wraps. You can also use gochujang in a marinade for bulgogi beef, and as a dressing for the Korean raw fish and vegetable dish, hweh bop bop.
Alternatively, mix the Korean red pepper paste with ginger and lime for zingy salad dressing or use as a marinade for chicken stews.
Exciting recipes using gochujang
A light and fresh salad, traditionally served as one of many vegetable side dishes in a colourful Korean meal. Great with spicy chicken wings!
Bulgogi Beef Ssam
Ssäm is a classic Korean dish meaning 'wrap'. This recipe is a lettuce wrap filled with marinated shredded beef – serve with a punchy dipping sauce.
Simply coated in a little oil and gochujang, then dehydrated – this is a brilliant crunchy snack to enjoy with a cool beer.
Heat your dolsot bowl, then fill with cooked rice and vegetables. Finish at the table with an egg and gochujang.
Once you mix classic ketchup with a little gochujang you'll never look back. Use the magic combo in a bacon butty that will really knock your socks off.
Sticky Pork Ribs
An unmissable recipe from the comprehensive K-Food cookbook, these pork ribs are glazed with gochujang and apricot jam. They're incredibly good!
What are the different types of gochujang I can buy?
This deep red gochujang paste has kimchi-like notes and lingering chilli heat. It’s excellent in traditional Korean recipes such as bibimbap, jjigae and ssamjang, or try it as a marinade for chicken stews.
This gluten free gochujang paste is made with fermented soybeans and red pepper powder for a spicy flavour. Mix the gochujang with gluten free soy sauce, a little sesame oil and white rice vinegar to make a sticky glaze for roasted or barbecued meat and vegetables.
This form of Korean gochujang, known as "hot pepper paste for sushi" is a mixture of the famous Korean chilli paste - gochujang - mixed together with vinegar. The vinegared gochujang is served at the table in Korean restaurants - most often to accompany fish or sashimi.
Frequently Asked Questions
What can I substitute for gochujang?
With super-savoury, fermented flavours and complex chilli notes, gochujang has a very distinctive taste which can’t be matched in other chilli sauces.
Is gochujang really spicy?
Red pepper powder is one of the main ingredients in gochujang, and the paste has a lingering heat, however the levels of spice vary from brand to brand. The fermented flavours of soybeans balance the chilli heat.
Is sriracha similar to gochujang?
Sriracha and gochujang are both types of chilli sauce, however this is where the similarities end. Gochujang is an umami Korean condiment made with soybeans, sticky rice and red pepper powder, and sriracha is a Thai sauce made with chilli, garlic and distilled vinegar.
While gochujang is complex with fermented flavours, sriracha is hot, sweet and sour. Sriracha is often used as a finishing sauce to drizzle over dishes, whereas gochujang is a thicker paste to use in marinades, braises and stews.
Ellie Edwards is a food writer for Sous Chef. Previously she worked at olive magazine, writing about exciting new ingredients, UK restaurants and travelling the world to find the best cinnamon buns. When she's not exploring the likes of Belize, Kerala and Zanzibar, Ellie loves rustling up a feast in her London kitchen, with a particular passion for porridge, sourdough and negronis.