Gochujang has taken the world by storm as of late, and we love it! Korean Gochujang Sauce is sweet and spicy, but it’s also tangy and savoury. This is an all-purpose sauce, meaning that it’s great on just about anything you can think of!
If you’re afraid of spicy food, Korean Gochujang Sauce just might change your mind. Please do not close this page and move on. Just hear me out first. I’m always nervous when it comes to trying new foods, especially if those foods are spicy. I never back down from trying new foods, mind you, but I can’t deny that I’m always a little worrisome.
I blame my mother. She loved food and loved to eat, but she never strayed too far from the foods she grew up eating. Food in our home was traditional, and never ventured outside the comfort foods that many Newfoundlander’s are accustomed too. I keep trying to push the boundaries, however. McKenna is responsible for that. Back in her high school days, she was obsessed with Korean food, pop culture, and most certainly, K-Pop.
Toronto has a pocket that is heavily populated and influenced by Korean culture, cuisine, and product. McKenna spent a lot of time there after school with her friends. They would buy K-Pop albums, drink bubble tea, and dine on noodles, rice cakes, and waffle fish. And, she would force us to go to Korean grocery stores on the weekend so she could get her favourite noodles and a case of banana milk. It was a whole new world for me, especially in terms of flavour!
WHAT IS GOCHUJANG?
Gochujang is one of my new favourite ingredients. Don’t worry; it’s not too spicy at all and you can totally control how much you’re adding to your recipes. So, what is gochujang? It’s basically a savory, sweet, and spicy sauce made from red chilies, soybeans, barley, etc. It’s spicy and sweet all at the same time. Oh, and a little goes a long way!
I’m a weakling when it comes to spicy and heat toleration, so if I can handle it, so can you! Gochujang is also very easy to find. It’s at every Asian supermarket, and even some of the larger national grocers. If you can’t find it, you can substitute by mixing together 1 tablespoon each of chili powder, ketchup, soy sauce, and sugar. Add in 1/2 teaspoon of dried red chili flakes and whisk together. Let it sit in the fridge for a few hours to marry together.
Gochujang cannot be completely replicated in substitute form, but that little recipe will give you a decent substitute without the depth and complexity of the original gochujang flavour. Trust me, Dear Reader, it will still be delicious!
MORE KOREAN-INSPIRED RECIPES
It’s important that you understand that I am not a well versed in the art that is Korean cuisine and I don’t claim to be. My recipes that center around Korea or in this case, gochujang, are inspired by Korean culture and cuisine only. They are not authentic, but they are delicious!
You can find many such recipes here at Lord Byron’s Kitchen. I love to incorporate gochujang into every day recipes. For example, I once made Cheesy Spicy Spaghetti with gochujang. I can still remember how mortified McKenna was when I set the Italian-Korean fusion in front of her. Ha! I also have these Korean-Inspired Egg Roll Bowls. They use both gochujang and gochugaro!
Finally, I used a similar sauce, much like this Korean Gochujang Sauce, in my Korean Gochujang Chicken Wings recipe. I swear, those wings are the ultimate in spicy, sticky, sweet, and finger-licking-good wings. I could eat them every day and never grow tired of them. I’m not a sports fan, but that particular recipe always seems to spark lots of interest around the same time as the Super Bowl.
HERE IS WHAT YOU WILL NEED FOR THIS RECIPE:
- Gochujang – You can find it in many big chain grocery stores and most certainly in Asian markets. It’s also available on Amazon.
- Sugar – Regular granulated sugar will sweeten and mellow out the spiciness just a bit.
- Jam or Jelly – This adds so much to this sauce. Any jam or jelly flavour will do, but if you use jam, it must be seedless. I like to use my Crab Apple Jelly.
- Light Soy Sauce – I tried using regular, but it was too salty for my tastes. If you only have regular, do not add the full teaspoon of salt further down this list. Cut it back to just 1/4 teaspoon.
- Rice Wine Vinegar – You can substitute this with apple cider vinegar if you wish.
- Honey – Honey sweetens the sauce, but also helps to keep it smooth and sticky.
- Garlic – Lots of minced garlic!
- Ginger – Fresh ginger is best. I like to grate it so that more flavour is released.
- Salt – Remember to cut back on this if you don’t use light soy sauce!
- Ketchup – This sauce is most certainly better with the addition of just a little bit of ketchup.
HOW TO MAKE KOREAN GOCHUJANG SAUCE:
When it comes to making sauces at home, this one is very easy. The first thing you need to do is to measure all of the ingredients out and pile them all into a sauce pan. Turn on the heat to medium high and use a whisk to slowly incorporate all of the ingredients together.
There’s a lot of sugar content in this sauce, so it’s important to keep that whisk moving. Sugar will burn very easily, especially when the sauce comes to a boil. Speaking of boiling, once your sauce starts to bubble and comes to a full boil, cook the sauce for only 2 minutes from that point.
Remove the sauce from the heat and continue to whisk for another two to three minutes. The goal here is to prevent the sauce from sitting still on that hot sauce pan. It can still burn even though it is not in contact with direct heat. Once cooled, you can use immediately or store the sauce in a jar. Keep it in your fridge. It will last there for 7 days. When you re-heat the sauce, you can always add a tablespoon or so of water to loosen it up and thin it out if need be.
PUTTING YOUR SAUCE TO GOOD USE
I think the most common thing that people think of is chicken. The sauce loves chicken! And, it doesn’t matter if it’s baked chicken, fried chicken wings, or even deep fried southern-style chicken. Korean Gochujang Sauce will pair well with any of it! But, you can use it a million other ways. It’s great with egg rolls and I love to add a little bit to the water that I’m cooking rice in – it’s so good! It’s a great dip for fries, and it will even work on a sandwich. In fact, stir some into some mayo for a Korean-style aioli.
You can add a tablespoon of this sauce to your favourite ramen too. If you’re making a homemade bibimbap at home, this sauce has all of your umami needs covered! And, if you’re cooking style is more laid back, try whisking some into your scrambled eggs before you cook them. Yum!
Korean Gochujang Sauce
- 1/2 cup gochujang
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup seedless jam or jelly
- 1/4 cup light soy sauce
- 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup honey
- 3/4 cup water
- 5 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and grated
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup ketchup
- Measure all of the ingredients and pile them all into a sauce pan.
- Turn on the heat to medium high and use a whisk to slowly incorporate all of the ingredients together.
- Keep the whisk moving; the sauce will start to bubble and come to a full boil. Cook the sauce for only 2 minutes from that point.
- Remove the sauce from the heat and continue to whisk for another two to three minutes.
- Once cooled, you can use immediately or store the sauce in a jar. Keep it in your fridge. It will last there for 7 days.
- When you re-heat the sauce, you can always add a tablespoon or so of water to loosen it up and thin it out if need be.