Ever notice how a sauce, once tagged with some foreign-syllable and foreign calligraphy, suddenly feels like uncharted territory? It's as if it's some exclusive club you need a password to enter. Let's debunk that myth! A sauce is still a sauce, no matter the label, it's usually made with ingredients we're already familiar with. Let's take these 'exotic' condiments off their pedestals and mix them into our favourite go-to recipes and cross some boundaries. It's time to make home-cooking fun and satisfying!
If you've developed a taste for the deep umami notes found in Asian favorites like miso, seaweed snacks, and oyster sauce, then gochujang is likely to resonate with your palate. It offers a fiery, savory depth that complements and enhances a wide range of dishes, much like these other beloved ingredients.
What is Gochujang?
Gochujang is a thick, crazy! red, spicy and savory condiment made from chili powder, glutinous rice, fermented soybeans, and salt. The red is so intimidating it scares off a lot of people.
Imagine the heat of chili paste combined with the umami-rich nature of miso, but with a flavor that's uniquely its own. Even though it's called a chili paste, it offers a balanced blend of spiciness, sweetness, and umami. The depth of its fermented flavor is something you can't simply replace.
Why use it?
Solution: Gochujang is that game-changer that adds a spicy, savory twist.
Solution: Gochujang will lend a unique, savory kick, instantly transforming a familiar dish into a vibrant, umami-rich sensation.
How to Use:
Stir-Fries: A classic application. A dollop can amp up the flavors and heat of meats and veggies.
Marinades: Blend with garlic, ginger, and sesame oil to give meats a spicy, umami-rich marinade.
Sauces and Dips: Mix into mayo or other sauces for an unexpected kick.
Comparisons and Differences:
Sriracha: Both are spicy, but sriracha is more garlic-forward, whereas gochujang has a deeper, fermented flavor.
Spicy ketchup: Both provide a blend of sweetness and spiciness, but gochujang brings a unique depth of flavor and umami complexity that sets it apart.
Harissa: While both are chili pastes, harissa is more straightforward in its spiciness, while gochujang offers a blend of spicy, sweet, and umami flavors.
Little note: When first experimenting with gochujang, remember that its heat level can vary by brand. Start with a small amount, taste, and adjust. Over time, you'll learn to harness its flavor to perfectly suit your dishes.
Gochujang BBQ Ribs
- Baby back ribs or spare ribs
- Salt and pepper
- BBQ sauce
- Honey or brown sugar
- Preheat - Preheat oven.
- Rib Seasoning - Season the ribs with salt and pepper.
- Glaze Mixing - Mix the BBQ sauce, gochujang, and honey/brown sugar to make the BBQ glaze.
- Ribs Setup for Baking - Place the ribs in a baking dish and cover with foil.
- Slow Baking - Bake until tender.
- Final Glazing - In the last part of baking, uncover the ribs and brush on the gochujang BBQ glaze.
Spicy Gochujang Meatloaf
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 cup breadcrumbs
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1/4 cup ketchup
- 2 tablespoons gochujang (adjust to taste)
- Salt, pepper, and herbs to taste (for herbs, consider a mix of 1 teaspoon dried basil, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, and 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme)
- Oven Preparation - Preheat oven at 375°F (190°C)
- Meat Mixture Seasoning - In a large bowl, combine ground beef, breadcrumbs, egg, milk, ketchup, gochujang, salt, pepper, and herbs. Mix until just combined. Then shape and bake!
- Baking Process - Bake until the meat is fully cooked (for a meatloaf, this is typically around 1 hour at 375°F (190°C)
- Glaze Preparation - While the meat is baking, mix together BBQ sauce, gochujang, and honey/brown sugar to make the BBQ glaze.
- Final Glazing Touch - In the last part of baking, remove the meatloaf from the oven and brush on the gochujang BBQ glaze, then return to the oven for another 5-15 minutes, depends on how brown you want to glazing to be.
Gochujang Mac 'n' Cheese
- 8 oz (about 2 cups) artisanal macaroni
- Cheese blend:
- 1 cup aged cheddar, grated (for depth and sharpness)
- 1 cup Gruyère, grated (for creaminess and nuttiness)
- 1/2 cup Fontina, grated (for meltability)
- 1/4 cup Parmesan, grated (for a salty, umami kick)
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk or heavy cream
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons gochujang (adjust to taste)
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme or rosemary, finely chopped for garnish
- Optional: 1 teaspoon truffle oil or 1/2 cup sautéed wild mushrooms for a luxurious touch
- In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the gochujang until smooth.
- Gradually add in the milk or cream, whisking continuously. Once heated through, reduce the heat to low and begin adding the cheese blend a handful at a time, stirring until each batch of cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth.
- Taste and adjust seasoning with freshly ground black pepper and additional gochujang if desired.
- Stir the drained macaroni into the cheese sauce, ensuring each piece is well coated.
- Transfer the mac and cheese mixture to a baking dish.
- Sprinkle the top evenly with panko breadcrumbs.
- Bake in the oven for about 20-25 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the cheese sauce is bubbling.
- If using, drizzle with truffle oil and/or fold in sautéed wild mushrooms.
- Sprinkle with fresh herbs before serving.
Gochujang Potato Salad
- 2.5 lbs (about 6 medium-sized) potatoes, boiled and cubed
- 4 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 2-3 tablespoons gochujang (adjust to taste)
- 1 cup diced celery
- 1/2 cup diced red onion
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Gochujang Mayo Preparation - In a small bowl, mix together 1 cup of mayonnaise and 2-3 tablespoons of gochujang until well combined.
- Salad Base Assembly - In a large bowl, combine the boiled and cubed potatoes, chopped hard-boiled eggs, diced celery, and diced red onion.
- Dressing and Mixing - Pour the gochujang mayo mixture over the potato mixture, then mix gently until everything is evenly coated.
- Final Seasoning - Season with salt and pepper to taste. Adjust seasoning if necessary, and add more gochujang if you'd like it spicier.