In all of the travels we’ve done, South Korea remains one of our favorite countries and Seoul one of our favorite cities.
The people, the culture, the landscape, and the FOOD. Oh my word, the food. It’s all amazing.
We’ve shared an inspired version of easy kimchi on the blog before, but recently, we were craving that quintessential red pepper paste known as gochujang.
What is Gochujang?
It’s spicy, savory, and slightly sweet with so much complexity. Traditionally, the sauce is made and fermented to develop the flavors, but there are also ways to make it more simply (and quickly) – which you know we’re all about.
This is my inspired version (not authentic, mind you!) of this curiously complex sauce we’ve grown to love and crave. Let’s get started!
First of all, this recipe is EASY. I mean easy. Anyone can make it. It requires 5 ingredients, 5 minutes, and 1 blender or food processor.
What’s in Gochujang?
It starts with miso as a base, which provides a quicker route to that fermented flavor. Plus, we like using chickpea miso to avoid the possibility of GMO soy. But if you can only find soy miso, that works, too! The flavors are quite similar.
Next comes Korean chili powder or flakes, which we’ve discovered are quite different than other chili flakes. They’re not as spicy as cayenne and more complex than red pepper flake. If at all possible, order some online (link in recipe) or visit an Asian store in your area to see if you can hunt them down.
For more flavor, we added some fresh garlic, maple syrup for natural sweetness, and coconut aminos in place of soy sauce for saltiness and depth of flavor. Swoon.
How to Use Gochujang?
So many options! First of all, it acts as a chili paste in marinades and sauces. Anywhere a recipe calls for chili garlic sauce, you could experiment substituting gochujang for more complex flavor.
One of the most famous uses of gochujang is in the delicious Korean rice and veggie bowl known as Bibimbap.
We hope you LOVE this sauce! It’s:
Easy to make
& Insanely delicious
The cool thing about gochujang is it’s not spice-your-face-off spicy. It’s more of a subtle spice because it’s balanced with other flavors. Plus, you can control the spice level when you make your own! So even if you’re typically averse to spicy food, give this one a try! You might be pleasantly surprised.
Use this sauce in our Gochujang Spiced Cauliflower Wings to see what we’re raving about! Or give it a try in our Marinated Peanut Tempeh or add it to the dipping sauce in these Collard Green Spring Rolls!
More Korean-Inspired Recipes
- Easy Vegan Kimchi
- Easy Bibimbap with Gochujang Sauce
- Gochujang Stir-Fried Brussels Sprouts
- Spicy Korean Style Cauliflower Wings
If you like this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!
Easy Gochujang Sauce (Korean Chili Paste)
- 1/3 cup chickpea miso paste (we like the brand Miso Master Organic // or use soy miso – just make sure it’s vegan friendly and gluten-free if needed)
- 1/4 cup maple syrup (plus more to taste)
- 1/3 cup Korean chili flakes* (plus more to taste)
- 1/4 cup coconut aminos (plus more to taste (or sub tamari, but reduce amount as it’s saltier)
- 4 cloves garlic (minced)
- 2-4 Tbsp water (to thin)
- To a small blender or food processor, add chickpea miso, maple syrup, chili flakes, coconut aminos, and garlic. Blend together until smooth, adding water a little at a time to thin into a paste (see photo for texture).
- Taste and adjust flavor as needed. Add more pepper flake for spice, coconut aminos for depth of flavor, maple syrup for sweetness, garlic for “zing,” or salt for saltiness.
- Store in the refrigerator up to 2 weeks or in the freezer up to 1 month. Perfect for use on dishes like tempeh, cauliflower wings, sauces, marinades, etc.
*Recipe adapted from Leite’s Culinaria.
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