Hot pepper paste

Gochujang 고추장

I’m thrilled to introduce you to my homemade Korean hot pepper paste (gochujang) recipe today. Yes, eventually! Over the years so many of my readers and viewers have requested the recipe for gochujang, but I thought I couldn’t make it until I visited Jamie Frater’s house in New Zealand during my Gapshida trip last year. To make good, well-fermented gochujang, you need good quality ingredients, an earthenware pot to make it in, and a sunny place for it to ferment. Making gochujang is easy, but taking care of it requires lots of patience and hard work.

Gochujang needs direct sunlight, so after you make it you need to open the earthenware pot on sunny mornings to let the sunlight hit it, and be sure to cover it in the evening. You have to stir it sometimes and turn it over from the bottom to the top so that it’ll be mixed and fermented evenly. As time goes on, your gochujang will turn shiny and turn a richer red. If you go outside to meet your friend but it suddenly rains and you forgot to close the lid, your gochujang will be spoiled.

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Besides this, gochujang  should not be made in the heat of summer or it will ferment too fast and explode. One of my Korean friends studying in the USA brought a container filled with his mother’s homemade gochujang on the airplane. He took it in his carry on. A long time ago, it was possible for people to bring gooey stuff like hot pepper paste, soybean paste, and even kimchi on an airplane. We have so many funny stories about this.

So my friend’s gochujang exploded on the airplane. Store bought gochujang is processed to stop fermenting, but homemade gochujang never stops, just like kimchi. The gas from the fermentation process kept pushing the lid of the container until it blew up. My friend’s mother must have packed it tightly with plastic bags and tape.

I’m living in an apartment in Manhattan without a patio, so it seemed impossible for me to make something that needs lots of direct sunlight to ferment well. Well-fermented gochujang is really delicious, and a totally different flavor from gochujang bought in a store. For a delicious meal you can simply mix it with warm rice, chopped kimchi, and toasted sesame oil.

So on my Gapshida trip, Korean food fan Jamie Frater invited me to his house to cook together. We filmed my popcorn chicken gizzard recipe video and the next day we filmed this gochujang video. The cameraman, Ryan Sweeney, is also a big fan of Korean food.

Jamie was waiting for me with all the ingredients for gochujang as well as Korean earthenware pots: onggi. He brought these from a trip to Korea that he won in a Korean food blog contest 2011 on the basis of his Korean food writing.

This Korean gochujang was made in New Zealand and taken care of by Jamie for months. It’s really international!

gochujang

Makes about 16 quarts

Ingredients

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Directions

  1. Mix 8 liters (32 cups) of water and 2 pounds of barley malt powder (yeotgireum) in a large basin
  2. Strain the mixture and put it in a large heavy bottomed pot.
  3. Heat it up on the stove for about 20 minutes until it’s warm. Dip your finger in to test it: it should be warm, not hot.
  4. Remove it from the heat and add sweet rice flour. Mix well with a wooden spoon.
  5. Let it sit for 2 hours. The liquid on the surface will look a lot clearer, and it will taste a little sweet.
    gochujang
  6. Bring to a boil for about 2 hours over medium high heat, until it reduces by ¼-⅓ (about 28-30 cups).
    *tip: Stir occasionally with a wooden spoon so it doesn’t burn to the bottom of the pot.
    gochujang
  7. Add the rice syrup and mix well.
  8. Remove from the heat and wait until it completely cools down.
  9. Add mejugaru  and mix well. Then add  hot pepper powder and mix well. Lastly add salt, and stir until there are no lumps in the paste.
    gochujang
  10. Transfer it to an earthenware pot or glass jar and cover with mesh or cheesecloth before closing the lid.
    gochujang
  11. It will take about 2-3 months to properly ferment. During that time it’s best to open the lid and let it sit in the sunlight during the daytime, and close it at night.

Jamie updated me recently about his gochujang with a few photos and emails. I missed the gochujang a lot! Jamie loves the texture and flavor of it, which made me very happy. Thank you very much Jamie for your effort taking care of the gochujang and updating us! Many of my readers will be encouraged to make their own homemade gochujang because of him.

He emailed:

“The gochujang came out great! It is a little thicker than commercial gochujang but I don’t think that is a problem at all. The flavor is deeper and slightly less salty than store bought pepper paste which is good I think. The hot New Zealand summer sun took great care of our precious paste! I can’t wait to see our video! I have attached 5 of the best photos I took of the gochujang.”

gochujang

gochujang

gochujang

Well fermented gochujang! The top layer looks dark red and a little dry! I can almost smell the aroma from this photo!

gochujang

Beautiful gochujang is showing off its bright red color! Thank you my gochujang! You grew up well, thanks to Jamie! : )

gochujang

On the left is homemade gochujang, and on the right is store-bought gochujang. A big difference!

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193 Comments:

  1. jamalerich Tokyo, Japan joined 5/17 & has 2 comments

    As much as I try to keep things tidy, usually some paste sticks to the walls of my fermentation vessel, and those little bits seem prone to mold. Is there anything to do to help with that? Is it ok to just wipe it off and let the ferment keep going?

  2. michelleincolorado Colorado joined 8/20 & has 3 comments

    This is an older post – but maybe you’ll still see this,

    Is there a way to use Meju instead of the powder for this, and how much would I need? Powder is harder to find, but soybeans, I have a lot of those!

  3. John4 Long Island (NY) joined 7/20 & has 3 comments

    I ordered all the ingredients to make this in early July and most, if not all, from Amazon. It cost me around $130 USD. I know it would’ve been cheaper if I went to H-Mart in near Nassau County (long island NY) but darn Covid kept me from going that route.

    I AM making this today as we speak (as I type ;-) I even ordered some Onggi/Hangari to ferment in. They’re a bit disappointing in quality (rough surfaces) but should get the job done! I just hope traditional Korean onggi like mine don’t have heavy metals in the glaze!

    I’ve also made Kimchi but I got a little silly and chopped up some mugwort and put it in. It smelled a little funny at first, but now I don’t notice the mugwort.

    It’s hard to get ingredients when I can’t go into any stores :-(

    ALSO, my soy sauce ferment is now 1yr old (different method than Maangchi’s: I used rice koji n didn’t make bricks) & my miso paste ferment is almost 24mos old. Some of that was in plastic buckets (soy sauce) n miso was in sugar crock from Marshall’s n overflow into 32oz canning jar.


    See full size image

    • michelleincolorado Colorado joined 8/20 & has 3 comments

      If you get the urge again – with a little patience in most places you can order online from Hmart and it’s a lot cheaper than on Amazon. It does take longer to ship, but the ingredients were easily 1/3 of the price of Amazon’s

  4. Azlinda Tan M United Kingdom joined 6/20 & has 1 comment

    Hi Maangchi!

    I am going to make gochujang using the recipe from your book. I would like to get the onggi to ferment the gochujang. May I know which size would you advice me to get please? The recipe makes 8 quarts (7.5litre) does that mean I have to find onggi jar that have the capacity of at least 7 litres?

    Thank you Maangchi!

    Azlinda

  5. Nari_95 Sweden joined 2/20 & has 3 comments

    Hi Maangchi,

    I will repost the same question because didn’t get an answer
    Can I use a different flour for the fermented soybean flour?, because they don’t have it here in Sweden and amazon doesn’t ship to Sweden? Or can I make my own fermented soybean flour?

    Kind regards Nari

  6. Rhonda Fry Kansas joined 6/20 & has 1 comment

    Maanchi,
    Hi…I wanted to let you know that when I tap the link for the hot pepper powder…it does not open a item on the amazon website page like the other links do…I really want to buy the brand that has the picture of what you use…could you please provide a active link to where I can purchase that?
    Thank you so much…I love all that I am learning from your videos!
    I hope to make the homemade pepper paste soon!!!
    Thanks again for all you do!!!
    Sincerely,
    Rhonda

  7. muditami Perth Western Australia joined 5/20 & has 1 comment

    Hi Maangchi….thank you so much for your wonderful recipes….anyway, I was just wondering, is it okay if I put fresh chilies in gochujang? because I really love spicy gochujang.

    Thank you….

  8. ducana_bruh Caribbean joined 3/20 & has 1 comment

    Is there a way to make nonspicy gochujang? If I just skip the hot pepper powder, I’m afraid the texture will be different. Is there a nonspicy powder I can use instead? Thank you!

  9. Nari_95 Sweden joined 2/20 & has 3 comments

    Hi Maangchi,

    Can I use a different flour for the fermented soybean flour?, because they don’t have it here in Sweden and amazon doesn’t ship to Sweden? Or can I make my own fermented soybean flour?

    Kind regards Nari

    • Eulipian Honolulu, Hawai`i joined 6/20 & has 1 comment

      Might be able to substitute light miso, but have to adjust for saltiness and additional liquid content. Or maybe not…. 망치 will know.

  10. Inches Chicago joined 6/16 & has 47 comments

    I made gochujang about 3 years ago now and I still have a lot left. I now learned that I cannot eat gluten, so I cannot eat barley or anything touching wheat, like the nuruk in makgroli either and maybe some meju-garu. So I cannot eat my long aged makgeoli or gochujang

    I know that this is the traditional method, but have you ever heard of any way to make gochujang or makgeoli without barely or starter that uses wheat? The enzymes help make the sweetness and to ferment and digest – I wonder if there are any alternative ways to get that in Korean tradition.

    There is gluten free gochujang at the store but it’s $5 for a very small bottle. I would love to have a jar of gochujang sitting next to my doenjang fermenting ^_^

  11. pandodo Rancho Cucamonga, CA joined 11/19 & has 1 comment

    Hi Maangchi, I have just bough a pack Malt Flour(Fine), can I use this to make Hot pepper paste?
    Thank you.


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