Ingredient of the Week: Korean Red Pepper Paste

What is it?

A staple of Korean food, red pepper paste (or gochujang) is a condiment made from fermented soy beans, red chili pepper powder, glutinous rice, and sometimes garlic and onion. It is dark red in color and combines the flavor profiles of salty, savory, and especially spicy and sweet. Traditionally, gochujang was made by natural fermentation: ingredients were placed in earthenware jars under the sun for an extended period of time.

How do I use it?

In Korean cuisine, it is typically used as a condiment -- either added as a topping or made into a dipping sauce -- for noodle soups, sashimi, meat, or vegetables. When used as a dipping sauce for grilled meats and vegetables, it is often combined with other ingredients like vinegar, sugar, or sesame seeds. It is also used as a marinade or sauce in dishes such as chicken or stew.

Where can I find it?

You can find it in most Asian grocery stores, like Super H-Mart, or order the Bibigo brand online from CJ Foods. A 17.6-oz. Container of Bibigo hot pepper paste costs $4.99.

Recipe: Korean Mixed Rice Called bibimbap in Korean, this dish is a common comfort food. Always served in large bowls, bibimbap consists of steamed rice topped with stir-fried vegetables, beef, and sunny-side up eggs. Gochujang is added, egg yolks are broken, and all the ingredients are mixed thoroughly before eating.

What do you do with your gochujang?

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