The spicy Korean chile paste transforms jarred tomato sauce and ketchup.

By Heath Goldman
Sempio

Sriracha lovers, you’re about to meet your new flame. Even if your refrigerator is already packed with condiments, it’s worth making room for this dark red Korean chile paste. Just a spoonful of gochujang (pronounced go-chu-jung) adds sweet umami-packed spiciness to soups, marinades, sauces, and more. You can stir it in just like you would miso in our Ginger-Scallion Salmon Burgers With Miso Yogurt or Miso Black Bass With Asian Slaw.

The flavor-enhancer is made from chile peppers, sticky rice, fermented soybeans, and salt. Find it at any Korean market, Whole Foods, or on Amazon. Is gochujang gluten-free? Not always: sometimes it has added wheat, so be sure to check the label if that’s a concern. Gochujang paste is not to be confused with store bought Gochujang sauce, which might have any number of additional ingredients mixed in.

Traditionally used in the Korean rice bowls called bibimbap, it sometimes gives kimchi its red color. However, the ingredient adds great kick in more familiar dishes too. It varies in heat level depending on the brand, so start by adding a teaspoonful at a time to your recipe. Use it in soups in place of tomato paste (try our Gochujang Gumbo), toss it with jarred tomato sauce to add complex flavor to pasta dishes, or mix it with ketchup to create a gochujang dipping sauce for your fries. It also melds well with barbecue flavors, so try stirring it in marinades or braising liquids.

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If you’re in a pinch, you can use Sriracha as a substitute for gochujang, although Sriracha is thinner and has much more garlic flavor. But we recommend just buying a big tub of the paste. It will last up to two years in the refrigerator, by why not use it up?

 

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