And now, for a long overdue topic: Gochujang.
Gochujang is a quintessential Korean chili paste used for sauces, soups, and courageous veggie dipping. Like Sriracha, it makes everything taste spicier and, well, better. Unlike Sriracha, it’s sweet, thick, and actually used in Asia.
For spice-lovers, gochujang is an extremely versatile condiment with surprising depth. Depending on the brand, it can be quite sweet and even mildly smokey tasting. Since every Korean grocery store carries no less than 5000 varieties, I recommend that you read this fantastic blog post on the topic, which includes a taste test!
The only downside to gochujang, in my opinion, is its jam-like texture which makes it difficult to dissolve into other ingredients. If you’re adding it to a soup, the best way to avoid sunken-chunk syndrome is to make a slurry with the paste or to fry it with the vegetables.
However, if you’re feeling lazy and experimental, try the following:
Gochujang Peanut Sauce (great for noodle and rice dishes)
3 tbs peanut butter
2 tbs gochujang
1/4 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
1 tbs toasted sesame oil
1 tbs Mirin
2-3 tbs rice vinegar
2-3tbs water (depending on your desired consistency)
MIX. ADJUST. REPEAT.
Since this is such a core ingredient in Korean cuisine, it is easy to find. Maangchi has an amazing list of Korean grocery stores throughout the entire world, and you can increasingly find gochujang in large Chinese grocery stores, as well.