If you love Korean food, you probably know about Gochujang! It’s a special red chili paste made by fermenting chili peppers, rice or wheat, soybeans, and salt that makes Korean dishes taste yummy.
But sometimes it’s hard to find. Don’t worry; I’m here to help! I have some great Gochujang Substitutes that you can easily find in the store. These alternatives will still give your dishes the spicy kick and umami flavor profile they need. So you can still enjoy the flavors even if you can’t find Gochujang.
What Is Gochujang?
Gochujang is a spicy and flavorful red chili paste that comes from Korea. It’s made by fermenting chili peppers, rice or wheat, soybeans, and salt. It has a rich and complex taste adds a unique kick to dishes.
8 Best Gochujang Substitutes
Red Pepper Flakes/Powder
If you need a quick and easily accessible substitute, red pepper flakes or powder can work in a pinch. They provide heat without the umami and fermented characteristics of Gochujang. Adjust the quantity based on your desired spice level, and consider adding other ingredients like soy sauce, vinegar, and sugar to enhance the flavor.
While not an exact match, miso paste can contribute a similar umami flavor to your dishes. Choose a darker and more robust variety, such as red miso or fermented soybean paste, to get closer to the complexity of Gochujang. Combine the miso paste with chili flakes or powder, soy sauce, vinegar, and sweetener to approximate the flavor profile of Gochujang.
Sriracha is a popular hot sauce made from chili peppers, vinegar, garlic, sugar, and salt. It has a tangy, spicy, and slightly sweet flavor that can substitute for Gochujang. However, note that Sriracha is thinner in consistency, so you may need to adjust the amounts and add additional ingredients to achieve a similar texture.
Sambal Oelek is a spicy chili paste commonly used in Southeast Asian cuisine. It is made from fresh red chili peppers, vinegar, and salt. While it lacks the fermented notes of Gochujang, Sambal Oelek can add a fiery kick to your dishes. Like Sriracha, it is thinner, so you might need to adjust to compensate for the texture.
Chili Garlic Sauce
Chili Garlic Sauce is a condiment made from chili peppers, garlic, vinegar, and sometimes sugar. It delivers a spicy and garlicky flavor that can be a decent substitute for Gochujang. However, it lacks the fermented complexity of Gochujang, so you may want to add additional ingredients like soy sauce, miso, or honey to mimic its depth of flavor.
Harissa is a North African chili paste made from roasted red peppers, chili peppers, garlic, spices, and olive oil. It has a rich and slightly smoky flavor with moderate heat. While it lacks the fermented notes of Gochujang, it can add a spicy kick to your recipes and provide depth of flavor.
Chipotle in Adobo Sauce
Chipotle in adobo sauce is a popular Mexican ingredient made from smoked and dried jalapeno peppers rehydrated and canned in a tangy, slightly sweet sauce. The peppers provide a smoky heat that can be used as a substitute for Gochujang. Remember that it has a distinct smoky flavor, so adjust the other ingredients accordingly.
Thai Red Curry Paste
Thai red curry paste blends red chili peppers, garlic, lemongrass, ginger, and other spices. Although it has a different flavor profile than Gochujang, it can add similar spiciness and complexity to your dishes. Mix the Thai red curry paste with soy sauce, rice vinegar, and a sweetener like brown sugar or honey to mimic Gochujang’s taste.
Taste And Texture Of Gochujang
Gochujang has a spicy, savory, and slightly sweet taste. It’s not just about the heat; it has a deep and umami flavor. The texture is thick and sticky, like a paste, and it’s a bit grainy due to the chili pepper seeds.
Ingredients Of Gochujang
The main ingredients of Gochujang are chili peppers, rice or wheat, soybeans, and salt. Some variations may include ingredients like sweeteners, garlic, and other spices. The mixture is fermented, so it’s left to age and develop its unique flavors.
In Which Dishes Gochujang Is Used?
Gochujang is a versatile ingredient used in many Korean dishes. It’s often used as a sauce or marinade for meats like chicken, veal, or beef. It’s also used in stews, stir-fries, and rice dishes.
Gochujang adds a delicious spicy taste and depth of flavor to these dishes, making them extra tasty. Some popular Gochujang dishes include Bibimbap, Tteokbokki, and Korean Fried Chicken.
Can You Make A Homemade Gochujang Alternative?
While it’s challenging to replicate the exact flavor of Gochujang, you can make a homemade alternative that captures some of its essences. Combine red pepper flakes, soy sauce, miso paste, garlic powder, honey or sugar, and vinegar to create a homemade Gochujang-like paste.
Adjust the quantities to achieve your desired spiciness and sweetness. While it won’t be the same, this homemade alternative can still bring a similar spicy and savory flavor to your dishes.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Country Is Gochujang From?
Gochujang is from South Korea. It is a staple in Korean cuisine and is widely used in various dishes.
Why Is It Called Gochujang?
The name “Gochujang” comes from Korean words: “gochu,” meaning chili pepper, and “jang,” meaning paste or sauce. So it is called Gochujang because it is a spicy paste made from chili peppers.
What Does Gochujang Taste Like?
Gochujang has a spicy, savory, and slightly sweet taste. It is known for its complex flavor profile that combines heat, umami, and a touch of sweetness.
Is Gochujang Healthy?
Gochujang can be a healthy choice as it is made primarily from natural ingredients like chili peppers, soybeans, and rice or wheat. However, it is also high in sodium, so it should be consumed in moderation.
What Are The Best Substitutes Of Gochujang?
Some of the best substitutes for Gochujang include Sriracha sauce, Sambal Oelek, and a combination of red pepper flakes/powder, soy sauce, vinegar, and sweetener. These alternatives provide a similar spiciness and flavor to enhance your dishes when Gochujang is unavailable.
Can You Eat Gochujang Raw?
While Gochujang is safe to eat raw, it is typically used as a condiment or ingredient in cooked dishes. Cooking it can enhance the flavors and aromas, but some people enjoy the taste of Gochujang as a raw dip or spread.
What Is Gochujang Paste Used For?
Gochujang paste is used in a variety of dishes in Korean cuisine. It is used as a base for marinades, sauces, and dressings. It adds depth and spiciness to stews, stir-fries, rice dishes, and dipping sauces.
From Where To Buy Gochujang?
Gochujang is available at most Asian grocery stores. It can also be found in the international section of some supermarkets. Online retailers and specialty food stores also offer Gochujang for purchase.
Is There Alcohol In Gochujang?
Traditionally, Gochujang is made through a fermentation process that involves malted rice or wheat. During fermentation, the starches in these ingredients are converted into sugars, and some are further fermented into alcohol. However, the alcohol content in the final product is very low, usually less than 1%.