Watch your back sriracha, you’ve got some new competition in the spicy arena in and its name is gochujang. Never heard of it? You’re not alone. Described as a little funky, a bit sweet, and with a hit of spice, gochujang is a multifaceted, multi-purpose red pepper paste powerhouse. Milder than most chile pastes or powders, gochujang is also more well-balanced and complex. A staple in Korean cuisine, the flaming red paste has been making gradual gains in the U.S. and is poised to make as big of a splash as sriracha.
Why the popularity? It all comes down to one simple factor- versatility. With so many flavor profiles inherent, gochujang pairs well with meats, veggies, and all sorts of grains. You can marinade your meat with it prior to cooking or dollop a few tablespoons into a stew for a ready-made flavor shortcut. Liven up sandwiches with a homemade gochujang mayo or ketchup, adjusting quantities based on your personal preference.
The best place to find gochujang is an Asian grocery store if one is nearby. If you don’t, supermarkets are beginning to wise up to the demand and you may be able to find it in the ethnic ingredients aisle and gochujang is always available online. Given the limited availability in the U.S., so far no premier brands have emerged. Though you could always do a side-by-side taste test, ultimately personal preference prevails in matters of taste and texture. Once opened, gochujang keeps for over a year in the fridge. Still unsure how you’ll use it? Some of our favorite recipes incorporating gochujang are below, including classic Korean dishes and twists on American favorites.
Acting as the unifying ingredient in this traditional dish, gochujang tops crunchy rice, veggies, beef, and a fried egg. (Recipe and photo: Savory Simple)
Gochujang helps give this classic Korean comfort food a subtle heat, complementing the tartness brought on by the end of kimchi’s fermentation. (Recipe and photo: No Recipes)
Not one, nor two, but four,hot pepper varieties (including gochujang) make this stew flaming hot- not for the faint of heart! (Recipe and photo: Earthly Delights)
The chilled, noodle cousin of bibambap, this is a great summer lunch that retains its spice. (Recipe and photo: Kimchi Mom on NoshOn.It)
Boring meatloaf begone- packed with kimchi, soy sauce and ginger, this revamped loaf is double-coated with a ketchup-gochujang glaze. (Recipe and photo: Five and Spice)
Crunchy kimchi topping, gochujang mayo, juicy burger… let’s just say other burgers are going to seem lackluster from now on. (Recipe and photo: Foodie with Family)
Food truck style tacos, right in your own kitchen! (Recipe and photo: Foxes Love Lemons)