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 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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171 Comments:

  1. manatee74 Ithaca, NY joined 7/12 & has 3 comments

    Hi Maangchi, ever since I discovered this website a few days ago, I have been making your dishes from morning till night – I love Korean food and my 12 yo boy loves everything I make from this website! A huge plus!

    I have a couple of questions about Gochujang – 1. I also live in an apartment but I have a huge window. At the height of summer, right now, by the window my houseplants get at least 6, maybe 8 hours of direct sunlight. Do you think I can ferment gochujang by the window or does it need to be outside under the direct sunlight? 2. In case I can’t make Gochujang – I have a question about the store-bought Gochujang. One of the ingredients is listed as “corn syrup.” The product is made in Korea. In the US, most corn products are made from genetically modified (GM) corns. I’m wondering if Korean Gochujang contains GM corns from the US or the other parts of the world. I’d like to avoid GMO produces as much as possible.

    Thank you, I hope you will see this.

  2. singingbelly Indonesia joined 11/11 & has 5 comments

    It’s been a while since I went to your website, and suddenly you have the recipe for gochujang! Thanks so much Maangchi~Unnie. I will look forward to make this recipe

    • widi yogyakarta joined 7/12 & has 1 comment

      hiya singingbelly…salam kenal,
      you have make this recipe?..can you help me where can a have the ingredients,,
      im stay in jogya,,pliss help me,,thanks to Maanhchi – Unni…
      thanks

  3. Mr. T Trout Creek, Montana joined 5/12 & has 2 comments

    Can I substitute the malt powder with malt extract? If so what would the ratio be?
    Thanks

  4. ksangster joined 6/10 & has 6 comments

    I would like to make this now but am worried about the 2-3 month fermenting as July can be hot in NY. Do you think I will have a problem if I start it tomorrow? That leaves me May-June – July for fermenting.

  5. oksipak California joined 1/11 & has 72 comments

    April 30, 2012 (Monday): This is FANTASTIC! I’ve been waiting for this recipe. Just have to order couple of the missing ingredients via Internet. I also like the fact that Jamie’s batch wasn’t as salty which is an excellent thing for me. Thank you very much for sharing the recipe. :)

  6. Unnati Minneapolis joined 4/12 & has 1 comment

    Hiya! I am new to your website, and I love it. I have already made the cabbage kimchi and the radish kimchi.
    I am gluten intolerant and cannot use the malted barley in this recipe…what can I use instead?

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 11,701 comments

      I’m afraid to say you can’t skip it. It’s one of main ingredients for this recipe.

    • Pucelle Northern VA joined 5/12 & has 1 comment

      Thank you so much for posting this recipe, now I know why I haven’t been able to find a gluten-free one in the store. I also know that I now will have to avoid gochujang when I’m at Korean restaurants.

      I looked into gluten-free malts but they aren’t being sold so people who want them have make their own. Millet, Sorghum, and Buckwheat malt should work as they would have enough of the needed enzymes for the fermentation process. It’s a time consuming (4-7 days) and you can find info on it buy doing a search. Best places are the GF-Beer sites.

      • sonamgirl Toronto, Canada joined 2/13 & has 1 comment

        Fantastic suggestion for the GF beer site and substitutes. Has any Gluten-Free followers made the recipe with the alternates and how did it turn out?

      • happydemic Ireland joined 4/13 & has 1 comment

        Great ideas, Pucelle!

        Using gluten-free malted flour should work, but making it is a lot of work unless you want it for other brewing or baking projects too.

        It should be possible I think to substitute for the malted flour using commercially available products.

        Gluten-free malt extract substitute (e.g. sorghum syrup) gives some rich, sweet “malty” flavour, but is usually non-diastatic, i.e. it doesn’t have enough amylase to break down the rice starch into sugar.

        Adding some pure amylase (from a gluten-free supplier) to the rice flour should give the diastatic action needed.

        So I think using sorghum syrup and pure amylase together in place of malted barley flour should work adequately if imperfectly. Both products are available from specialist home brewing suppliers.

  7. Keleka California joined 6/10 & has 3 comments

    Hi Maangchi! I love your recipes!! I’m so happy you have shared this recipe with us! My question is can I cut this recipe in half? My neighbor was gracious enough to give me an earthenware pot with homemade gochujang as a parting gift when she moved. However, it’s half the size of Jamies. I have maybe 3 inches left in pot, so I’m sure if I transfer to another container & keep in refrigerator it’ll be ok. Just so I can make more. Thanks again for all the wonderful recipes!!

  8. powerplantop Louisiana joined 6/09 & has 69 comments

    I am so happy that Jamie shared this with us. I know he sent a lot of time learning how to make this. I plan to try it in the future, just not sure when I will have the chance.

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 11,701 comments

      ok, good luck with your gochujang project! : ) Be sure not to make it in the hot summer. It will explode and it may get sour. The best time to make gochujang is from October to March so the fermentation slows down and the taste and flavor deepens.

  9. adlais Kuala Lumpur joined 8/11 & has 9 comments

    Maangchi, mine has bubbles. Is it because it has already fermented though its only 20 days since i bottled it.

  10. Simone_Connors Eagle River, WI joined 4/12 & has 1 comment

    It looks good. And I bet it’s spicy too. Can’t wait to make my own.

  11. bshapiro Menlo Park, CA joined 4/12 & has 1 comment

    I though I had everything to make this (including an Onggi) but I find I’s short 1/2 lb of fermented soybean powder (I only have 1Lb.) Can I use Korean soybean paste for the missing amount? If so how much should I use? If I can’t use soybean paste will the Gochujang suffer too much without the extra 1/2 Lb. of soybean powder?

  12. Yen somewhere in SE Asia joined 4/10 & has 11 comments

    I didn’t know making gochujang needs fermentation too…I would give that gochujang filled onggi a hug as well, Maangchi! I would love to make some but I don’t think we have barley malt powder and fermented soybean powder here. Just a question though, where do you keep the home made gochujang after it has fermented? Do you transfer it to another container and store it in the fridge?

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 11,701 comments

      yes, if you want, put it into a container and keep it in the refrigerator, but most Korean housewives keep it in their earthenware pot until it runs out.

  13. adlais Kuala Lumpur joined 8/11 & has 9 comments

    Hi Maangchi. Is it normal if there are few white molds on top of my homemade gochujang? I left my gochujang outside during the day (30-32C).

  14. lizamama Kuala Lumpur Malaysia joined 11/10 & has 4 comments

    what if you are in hot equatorial climate that’s very humid (30-32C). can i leave it in the kitchen where its slightly cooler but no direct sunlight

    • adlais Kuala Lumpur joined 8/11 & has 9 comments

      hello Lizamama. I made my own gochujang too but i used different recipe. It is hard to leave it under direct sunlight because it is too hot outside right now in Malaysia.You can see the photo that i’ve posted on Maangchi’s page on FB.

      • michelinstarwannabe Malaysia joined 12/11 & has 1 comment

        hello adlais , I’m interested to make my own gochujang. Ilive in Shah Alam.Where can I get the necessary ingredients?

        • adlais Kuala Lumpur joined 8/11 & has 9 comments

          i got all the ingredients from in Ampang Korean town. :) I dont know Shah Alam area. Some people who live near Damansara buy korean ingredients from Lotte Mart but i’ve never been there. Here in Ampang, there are around 6-7 korean marts so its quite easy to find the ingredients although some marts do not have item and brands that i needed. Example: plain/raw soybean powder & Wang gochujang :)

          • Alannia Kuala Lumpur joined 4/12 & has 2 comments

            Adlais, so you don’t put the gochujang in direct sunlight? Do you just keep it inside the house?

          • ina78 Jerteh, Terengganu, Malaysia joined 4/09 & has 45 comments

            Alannia,
            I think we can put the gochujang in direct morning sunlight for 2-3 day a weeks, maybe from 8 am to 10 am perhaps…. this is just a theory… hehehe…. I’m also still waiting for the ingredients to make this gochujang…and dont know when will I get the ingredients huhuhu…. to get those ingredient, I have to travel to Ampang, KL first….. (sigh…) but still I had to check if it halal or not from the ingredients….

          • Shikin Singapore joined 2/17 & has 14 comments

            Hi just curious are u able to get mejugaru in malaysia?
            Thank you.

  15. orangetkdgirl Seattle, WA joined 7/09 & has 5 comments

    I have been wondering for a while how homemade gochujang is made/how it tastes! I am going to start on my gochujang as soon as I buy the ingredients and a pot :D

    • orangetkdgirl Seattle, WA joined 7/09 & has 5 comments

      Also, I have a question..I live in western WA, and we don’t get very much sun around here. I’d say in the past week we had 2-3 days that were sunny, and it was only for a couple hours each day. The gochujang won’t spoil, will it? Will it just take longer for my gochujang to ferment in my location?

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