If you like Korean food, you probably know all about gochujang, the enticing red chili paste that makes everything taste better. From salads to bibimbap (white rice with delicious toppings) and from tteokbokki (stir-fried rice cakes) to stews, the savory red condiment makes dishes gain vitality and emotion.
Gochujang not only adds a bright color to food, but it also adds electrifying spiciness, sweetness, and a touch of smokiness to a meal. If you haven’t tried it yet, please do so, and you’ll promise yourself always to have some in the fridge.
Before we move on, we’d love to tell you all about how this decadent spicy paste is made.
Koreans already made some kind of pepper paste in the 9th century, and the first recipes are recorded in ancient books throughout the country’s history. To make it, you must ferment soybeans, glutinous rice powder, chili peppers, and a few other ingredients until it becomes something more significant than the sum of its parts. There are many variations, but the result is always similar: a sweet and savory, but predominantly spicy red paste that enhances every food it touches.
The thing is, authentic gochujang has always been gluten-free. The problem came with industrialization when the savory paste became more than an artisanal preparation and became a commercial product. Producers started adding wheat or barley flour to the recipe to make it more affordable, but in the process, it lost some of its authenticity.
It’s time to honor the old ways and to bring back gochujang to where it belongs: amongst the best seasoning sauces on earth. The time to return to the original way has come, so we’ll tell you not only where to buy authentic gochujang, but we’ll teach you how to make it.
Where to Buy Gluten-Free Gochujang
Thankfully, there are a few respected producers of authentic gochujang out there. And since the craze for Korean cuisine has become a global trend, you can find it easily anywhere you live.
Q-Rapha is one of a few dedicated gochujang producers based in the US, in Fredericksburg, VA. To be precise. The company makes gochujang with no additive, without using GMO soybeans and with no chemicals. Their Q-Rapha Classic Korean Gochujang is an Amazon bestseller, and they ship to every state (even abroad!)
Their 14.6-ounce bottle sells for just over ten dollars, and for the quality, it’s a bargain.
There are many other options out there, so chose your favorite.
How to Make Your Gluten-Free Gochujang
If you want to be part of the gochujang revolution and make your own at home, here’s an easy recipe to get you familiarized with the delightful paste.
- In a food processor blend equal parts of:
- Miso paste, which will emulate the fermented flavors of real gochujang.
- Maple syrup that will add sweetness and consistency.
- Korean chili flakes that will add color and heat.
- Soy sauce for a salty tanginess.
- Then add minced garlic. It will accentuate the flavor of your paste. Four cloves are enough for 8 ounces of paste.
- And finally, water, as necessary to thin your paste to your liking.
This fun and easy gochujang recipe will share similarities with real gochujang, but don’t think it will measure up with traditional, labor-intensive gochujang fermented in clay vessels (the transformation takes days!).
Nevertheless, the most important thing is to get you inspired and to spark your love for the distinctive red paste. Now that you know a little more about the delicious Korean condiment, we’re sure you can’t wait to try it. So, visit your local Korean restaurant with your friends and family and share the love for gochujang!