Move over, Sriraccha,
There is a new red hot pepper sauce on the culinary horizon………Gochujang……..
This Korean red pepper paste is a staple sauce used throughout Korean cooking, It is used in most Korean dishes that are spicy such as Jeyuk bokkeum, Bibimbap and ddukbokki. It is warm, sweet and spicy and goes well with most meats and also has a lot of health benefits to.
Gochujang can be traced back to the mid to late 16th century, it was made after chilli’s were introduced by Japan. It was traditionally made at home by adding red chilli powder to powdered sticky rice, and adding in powdered soybeans and salt. This mixture was then aged in traditional Korean jars in a similar way to kimchi, this gives the sauce it’s pungent flavor.
It is a fermented and preserved food, used mainly for seasoning and flavoring. This hot pepper paste is thought to stimulate digestion because it contains amylase and protease.
In Modern South Korea it is now produced on a mass commercial scale, you will find gochujang in every Korean home, as it’s an absolute must for Korean cooking, however homemade gochujang is much rarer, due to the time it takes to make it, but a number of elders still carry out the tradition and you may be able to pick up some homemade red pepper paste in a Korean street market.
Gochujang has become part of Korean tradition over the past few hundred years. Its health effects are as impressive as many other Korean foods. It has been found that it contains as many nutrients as soybean sauce. Gochujang sauce is known to contain Vitamin B2, Vitamin C, protein and carotene. Another health component is that gochujang contains a number of Micro-organisms that can help purify the intestines. Capsaicin which is the substance that makes chilli’s spicy, is also attributed to a number of health benefits, it is believed to calm down the stomach and speed up the excretion of waste, this in turn is believed to help fight obesity and is a contributing factor as to why South Korea has one of the world’s lowest obesity rates. Capsaicin is also great if you have a cold.
The popularity of gochujang has started to grow and spread outside of South Korea, it’s unique warmth and versatility allows it to be used with almost anything, and recent appearances on cooking shows seen on television, alongside famous faces such as Nigella Lawson, will only help its popularity. It surely won’t be long before it moves from Asian stores to mainstream local grocery stores and supermarkets.
For recipes for excellent home made gochajang see the links below:
Easy Korean Food:
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