A sweet, spicy, sour, and salty fermented chili paste from Korea is called gochujang (3). Although the majority of gochujang contains gluten, it is now simple to locate gluten-free varieties.
Traditional gochujang includes barley malt powder, which contains gluten, as one of its key constituents. In order to compensate for the absence of barley malt, companies typically just add more rice syrup, glutinous rice flour, and fermented soy. There are several different spiciness levels for gochujang. Mild, slightly hot, medium hot, very hot, and extremely hot are the options. You can choose the level that suits you because these are indicated on the container.
Find some simple gochujang recipes and GF gochujang choices below. If you have any additional dietary requirements, there are recipes that are soy-free, keto-friendly, and paleo-friendly included.
What ingredients make up gochujang sauce?
It’s difficult to recall a period when there wasn’t always a tub of gochujang in the refrigerator. What was once a casual fling (a hot steak or the occasional ribs) has blossomed into a passionate relationship: To add a surge of spicy-sweet umami to everything from stir-fried noodles to this (brand-new!) Slow-Roast Gochujang Chicken, which cooks on a bed of tiny potatoes that soak up all that hot-sweet schmaltz, we frequently use this Korean fermented pepper paste (by the teaspoon, not the cup). However, what precisely is gochujang? How do you utilize it, too? We have your back.
A key component of Korean cuisine, gochujang is a thick, spicy-sweet red paste consisting of glutinous rice (also known as sticky rice), fermented soybeans, salt, and red chili pepper flakes. It is traditionally fermented for years in an outdoor earthenware pot. During this period, the glutinous rice’s starches are transformed into sugars, giving the condiment its underlying sweetness. The fermented soybeans serve as the miso-like component that supports the “umami” flavor of gochujang, while the chilli peppers offer a fair degree of residual heat.
Gochujang paste is available at most well-stocked supermarkets, on Amazon, and in the condiments section of any Korean market. It’s often offered in small red square tubs (not to be confused with doenjang, another extremely popular Korean fermented soybean paste, which is commonly sold in beige square tubs). Commercial products might have different heat levels and frequently have Korean-language packaging, so you might want to test a few before choosing your favorite. About $5 will get you a small tub.
When used sparingly to lend depth to a variety of recipes, from stews and braises to marinades and sauces, gochujang’s sweet-hot-salty flavor shines. Gochujang, unlike Tabasco or Sriracha, is too hot to be used as a finishing sauce on its own. Instead, it’s used to enliven starchy meals like winter squash or squishy Korean rice cakes, as well as rich meat dishes like spicy pig or beef bulgogi or our new chicken version.
You only need a small amount of gochujang to have a significant flavor impact. To add a little complexity (and heat) to your favorite soups and marinades, start with a teaspoon at a time; you can also add it to sauces and salad dressings: It gives creamy, dairy-based dressings like the ranch riff in our Crispy Chicken Bowl and vinaigrettes like the one in our Steakhouse Salad with Red Chile Dressing and Peanuts a spicy-sweet kick. Gochujang is frequently combined with other ingredients, such as sesame oil, crushed garlic, sugar, and/or soy sauce, all of which work to temper some of its astringency.
Additionally, you can experiment with gochujang even without a comprehensive, well-planned recipe. Follow the example of chef Sohui Kim: Use homemade gochujang as a sauce for blanched or roasted vegetables by balancing it with sesame oil, honey, and rice vinegar while tasting along the way. Alternately, follow Alex Delany’s example and combine it with a sauce for cucumbers and radishes before serving it over a serving of hot white rice.
You could also prepare some tteokbokki, a delicious Korean rice cake snack that is best enjoyed right before you ask a buddy to assist you in leaving your walk-up apartment on the sixth story.
Does gochujang contain wheat?
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Hey, buddies! I’ll get right to it, but while I was in Asia visiting my family, I made the decision to create a recipe for the nutritious, gluten-free gochujang that my dad makes for me. Gochujang, a lovely, spicy, tasty Korean sauce, is now available to you in a more wholesome, gluten-free-friendly form.
Gochujang is frequently made with a little amount of wheat to help the sauce or paste set, and sugar is typically one of the main ingredients. When I refer to sugar, I mean white refined sugar, corn syrup, and other undesirable substances. Additionally, a significant amount of highly processed, low quality oil is typically included in the mixture to aid in texture and ensure that the sauce stays smooth even after being stored for several months to a year.
In addition to being healthful and gluten-free, as the name would imply, this recipe for refined sugar- and oil-free gochujang is also vegan. Simply combine the ingredients in a bowl to prepare it. If you are new with this fiery Korean sauce, picture hot sauce with a distinctively Korean flavor. It’s a common ingredient in many Korean cuisines, including Bibimbap, one of my favorite Korean dishes, and stews and hot sauces.
I wouldn’t advise making any substitutions because the components are fairly particular and add to the Korean flavor. If there is an Asian market nearby, you can find all of these components there as well as at most other Asian markets. If not, the majority of them can be purchased online, and I’ll include a link to each ingredient in the recipe card below.
P.S. Because I didn’t have my typical equipment, I had to use my dad as a hand model and utilize a somewhat different style of photography and editing. Please share your thoughts with me. I believe my father did a fantastic job modeling the hands.
A quick made-from-scratch option: Red Pepper Flakes
Use a paste created from red pepper flakes to reproduce that combination of sweet and heat. One teaspoon of red pepper, one pinch of sugar, and a splash of soy sauce should all be combined in a small bowl. Use very little sugar; if you oversweeten this paste, your dish will taste awful and will be ruined.
Closest flavor option: Miso and Chili
Due to the fact that both miso and gochujang paste mostly consist of fermented soy, their flavor profiles are comparable. Knowing this, we can mix miso and Korean chili powder to replicate the flavor.
Where do you dwell, no Korean chili powder? No issue, mix cayenne pepper and sweet paprika in equal amounts.
Store bought: Thai Chili Paste
Due to the strong garlic flavor, it is not a perfect match, but the fact that it is a paste does give it some similarities. It would be effective when used with stews and meats.
Even though Sriracha has a considerably runnier texture than other store-bought options, it might be used as a condiment alternative. It would be preferable to avoid Sriracha if the recipe calls for a tried-and-true Korean combination of ingredients that depend on one another to balance the flavors. Many meals will be overpowered by the sweet and garlic undertones. There are some recipes where it just tastes off.
For the lovers of spicy food: Harissa Paste
Some versions of harissa pack a bigger flavor punch than others! With harissa, you’ll get a lot of heat along with a mild smokey flavor. Even though it has a distinctive flavor, it is highly regarded in Moroccan cuisine for good reason. It serves as the foundation for tasty food.
Best for visual appearance: Sambal Oelek
Sambal oelek resembles gochujang in appearance, which is a wonderful place to start. It is much-liked in South East Asia and goes well with meat, soups, and even bibimbap.
Allergen free alternative: Dates and Spices
If you’re preparing food for a visitor or member of your family who cannot consume gluten, soy, or is vegan, using dates and spices is a smart choice.
What distinguishes Sriracha and gochujang from one another?
Vietnamese chilies, sugar, salt, garlic, distilled vinegar, potassium sorbate, sodium bisulfite, and xanthan gum are the main ingredients in Sriracha. The vinegar gives the sauce tang and preserves the peppers by dissolving them, while the chile contributes a mild amount of flavor. Due to the fact that their unique peppers are only in season for four months out of the year, the Huy Fong factory blends the chilies with salt, vinegar, and preservatives before sealing them in barrels. The plant uses supplies from its stockpile throughout the year to produce its well-known spicy sauce.
Due to their distinctive combination of ingredients and the addition of xanthan gum, its main thickening agent, Sriracha has a consistency that is comparable to ketchup. Because Sriracha is a condiment meant to be applied to cooked food to deliver heat without becoming overbearing, it is milder than Gochujang. Gochujang’s umami taste comes from fermented soybean paste, whereas Sriracha’s savory flavor comes from its considerably milder garlic. One significant distinction between the two hot sauces is that whereas Sriracha may be kept at room temperature for extended periods of time, Gochujang must be refrigerated once opened. Any recipe that calls for a basic hot sauce, such as fried rice, scrambled eggs, sandwiches, pizza, and more, can include Sriracha.
We hope you can choose between Sriracha and Gochujang with ease the next time you’re looking for the ideal hot sauce to complement your dinner. Be sassy.
Are celiacs able to eat gochujang?
On our “Every Thursday, in our Emily Recommends series, we share our favorite cooking tips, tricks, authors, blogs, YouTubers, ingredients, and more! We recently began doing this to further introduce Korean cuisine and culture “Emily suggests a series. Some of the Korean resources we suggest are some quick and simple banchan recipes as well as some of our favorite Korean cuisine bloggers. We wanted to share our top gluten-free gochujang brands today!
For people with food allergies and/or dietary restrictions, it can be challenging to go to foreign countries or learn how to prepare ethnic foods. I can totally relate to having unwelcome and ongoing stress.
I frequently find it difficult to communicate my requirement for a gluten-free diet to others in my native tongue because I have celiac disease. The difficulty increases when a different language or culture is introduced. I was constantly concerned about the food’s ingredients when I lived in South Korea. Did I communicate my allergy clearly in a language other than my own? Did I correctly read the ingredients? Do my pals appreciate how challenging dining out can be? All of those queries came up frequently for me.
Yes, You Can Make Korean Food Gluten-Free!
Fortunately, as interest in Korean cuisine grows, so is the range of dishes that are accessible to people with allergies and dietary limitations.
Major allergens are frequently present in the ingredients of gochujang, a red chili paste that is produced through fermentation. Gochujang is used as a basis for stir-fry meals, a beginning element in stews, and an ingredient in dips and sauces. It is a necessary component of Korean cuisine and cannot be avoided. Unfortunately, barley, wheat, or soy are frequently the main ingredients in store-brand gochujang.
Here is a list of our top picks for gluten-free gochujang! We’ll talk about each brand’s flavor, ingredients, and advantages and disadvantages!