Gochujang (or kochujang) red chile pepper paste is a staple ingredient in Korean food. It is a soybean paste mixed with dried red pepper flakes, glutinous rice and other ingredients and seasonings. It came into use in Korea during the later 16th century after red peppers were introduced into the area. The paste is a deep red color and very hot! It is sometimes called red pepper paste, hot pepper paste, or chili pepper paste.
Red pepper paste is part of a trinity of Korean fermented soybean products. The first two, kangjang, soy sauce, and toenjang (or doenjang), soybean paste, arrived much earlier. These ingredients form the foundation of much of Korea’s cuisine.
In addition to being used to make a red pepper sauce called goitchujan, a staple seasoning and condiment in its own right, gochujang is used in numerous dishes. It has a unique taste and cannot be easily substituted with other chile pastes or sauces. It is used in bibimbap, tteokbokki, bulgogi (Korean barbecue), spicy rice cake and many stews or sauces.
Gochujang red pepper paste can be found in many Korean and Asian markets, sold in either jars or plastic containers. It can be stored and used for many months. If you want to explore Korean food at home, then you will need this indispensable flavoring. A bestselling brand on Amazon is the Chunchang brand of Gochujang red pepper paste.
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