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Gochujang Paste, Daesang Sunchang
Gochujang Paste, Daesang Sunchang £3.50

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What is it

Gochu is Korean for chilli; jang means fermented paste or sauce.


You can find gochujang paste in the condiments aisle of any Asian supermarket, on Amazon, and at most well-stocked supermarkets. It's almost always sold in small, red square tubs.


Once opened, it should be stored in the fridge. Like miso, it has quite a long shelf life – just make sure to throw it away if the colour changes.


Originally, it was used as a medicinal food for digestive problems–it was even credited with saving King Yeongjo’s life in 1748. But gochujang quickly moved beyond medicine to become a defining flavour of Korean cuisine. It’s one of the youngest jangs, with siblings like doenjang and ganging, all united by their fermented flavours.

It has a soybean and wheat-grain base, taking its red colour and mild heat from Korean red pepper powder. Traditionally, Korean families would make their own batches, storing them outside in an onggi earthenware pot until the paste mellowed by the fermentation process. The result isn't a fiery sauce, but a sticky, shiny, spiced condiment. Not the head-blowing sweaty sort, but more gentle and rounded.

It's worth mentioning that Gochujang has a partner in crime. Its bedfellow is called doenjang, which is made through a similar process but doesn't contain chilli – instead, it has distinctively salty soybean flavours. In Korea, a scoop of each is often used to form the base of dipping sauces or marinades, as well as flavouring the country's traditional jjigae stew.

How to cook with gochujang

Gochujang has such a potent flavour that you only need to use a bit to make a big impact.


Gochujang works best in meat marinades – tenderising the meat and adding to the outer caramelisation. But remember, it contains sugars, so it may burn easily when searing or grilling.

In a sauce

Start with a teaspoon at a time to make your favourite soups and marinades a little more complex (and fiery) or stir them into salad dressings. It adds a spicy-sweet kick to vinaigrettes. Think of gochujang as similar to miso paste — a little goes a long way.

“Chef, what is your favourite way to use gochujang?”

Chaya said she loves to marinate meats and vegetables with gochujang. Verena quickly chimed in to say “Let’s face it guys, it’s better with meat.”