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. AmirKoreaKoya Terengganu, Malaysia joined 10/13 & has 1 comment

    Maangchi Nuna~….I really love your blog and I will support u always…because of your blog I get a chance to learn and cook lots~ of Korean food…My dream is to be world known Chef…because of this blog I’m one step closer to my dream…

    All the best~ FIGHTING~

  2. fatihah jamal georgetown joined 9/13 & has 1 comment

    Hye maangchi ,
    I made my gochujang last week , and i bring it out almost everyday for about 2-3 hours… but this week i cant because it was raining here at my place… after a few days, my gochujang smell a little bit sour… and spicy of course.. Is it still good ?? I never taste gochujang before.. it look delicious just by looking at it… that y i try to do it… one more thing, if its explode , can it still be use ?? I put my gochujang in small glass pot.. one of the gochujang explode, but not the glass pot.. can i still use it ?? Thank you in advance…!! ^_^

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 11,695 comments

      “after a few days, my gochujang smell a little bit sour” If it already tastes sour, the gochujang must be too bland. I would add some more salt and mix it well. yes, of course you still can use it. ” if its explode , can it still be use ?” yes! Stir the gochujang with a wooden spoon well everyday. I wish I could see and taste your gochujang. : )

  3. pomai hawaii joined 7/13 & has 1 comment

    I have an important question…..There is no where for me to find a stone pot. Can I use plastic bottles to ferment the gochujang in?

  4. nanina237 Ulsan, South Korea joined 5/13 & has 1 comment

    Hello Maangchi!
    I made my gochujang on 11 May 2013. Since I don’t have onggi, I made it in glass jar. It’s a warm spring in Ulsan (20-26 degrees celcius), and I think my gochujang is doing good. It’s been 2 weeks and I still sunbath them 3-4 days in a week, stir it and taste it. But honestly, I’m not really sure how to tell that my gochujang is fermented well and ready to consumed. Can you give me a hint? And is it okay if we just keep it in the room temperature instead put it in the fridge?

  5. marylyn malaysia joined 5/13 & has 1 comment

    how i get the pot in malaysia ??

  6. MeeAe Colorado joined 2/13 & has 11 comments

    So I halved the recipe. It fit perfectly in my gallon (actually one gallon and a quart) onggi. I also didn’t have red pepper powder, just the flakes. I hope it will work as well. It’s winter here in Colorado so ill mostly ferment it in the mornings when the sun is out although it will be cold.

  7. MeeAe Colorado joined 2/13 & has 11 comments

    Hi Maangchi, I just bought all my ingredients at H Mart. I got a one gallon size onggi. How much does this recipe make, will it fit in my gallon onggi? Also can I leave it in the onggi (out of the refrigerator) after it is finished fermenting? If so how long? It could take me a year to eat it all. Should it be refrigerated after a certain time period? Thanks!

  8. aileen3376 Iloilo, Philippines joined 2/13 & has 2 comments

    Hi Maangchi. My 3 year old daughter adores you. This is her favorite video, Gochujang. Because she lives the beautiful red color of the hot pepper powder. More power to you!

  9. Emaline904 Charleston, SC joined 5/12 & has 4 comments

    My local Asian market has malt powder in stock for the first time, so I am finally going to try this recipe. I’ve been really anxious to try it for awhile now!
    One tip for anyone in the US, you should be able to find earthenware bean pots (the kind that old fashioned baked beans are cooked in), pretty easily and reasonably priced. They are similar in shape to onggi, and much easier to get hold of in the US. Luckily, my mom donated her bean pot to me and I plan on using it for my gochujang. If you inherit or find an older bean pot, though, be sure to do a lead test on it because some older pottery pieces contain lead.
    Thanks so much for the recipe, Maangchi!!!

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

    My small Onggi Pots have shipped so awaiting its arrival next week. Getting all the ingredients together too. Can’t wait to make it! :D

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 11,695 comments

      omg! Exciting!
      I am curious how much does it cost to ship onggi (earthenware pot) safely! https://www.maangchi.com/kitchenware/earthenware-pot

      • oksipak California joined 1/11 & has 72 comments

        1/17/12 (Thursday): Just saw your response Maangchi. Let’s just say shipping cost was just as much as the small Onggi pots I ordered. (shipped from Seoul, Korea)! :D The Barley Malt Powder arrived this week so guess what I’ll be making this weekend? Yep, it’s been a long “online ordering process for all the ingredients to make this recipe” but I am so excited to finally make it! Will post the before-and-after photos. I’m salivating already! :P

        • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 11,695 comments

          “shipping cost was just as much as the small Onggi pots I ordered.” That’s not bad! : ) I’m excited about your homemade gochujang! Good luck!!

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

          Hai Oksipak…
          Can you tell me the link for that online shop….? I would like to review some ingredients too…. Thank you….

  11. strwbrrypie Toronto, Canada joined 8/12 & has 3 comments

    Hello Maangchi!

    After a long time of silently reading and trying out many of your recipes I’ve finally made an account so I can comment! I just finished my homemade gochujang last night and now it’s sitting by the window in the sun, but I have a couple questions:

    I used coarse sea salt for the gochujang since it was what I had…. Is that okay? and also my gochujang will be fermenting indoors from a very sunny window and I was wondering if it will be okay because the inside is air conditioned and not as hot as outside. It will be getting 6 full hours of sunlight if I leave it there the whole day, but I’m not sure if I should leave it there the whole day? or should I take it out after a certain number of hours in the sun?

    I am too excited about my homemade gochujang lol Love you Maangchi!

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 11,695 comments

      Yes, you can use coarse sea salt.
      “It will be getting 6 full hours of sunlight if I leave it there the whole day..” Yes, it sounds good but you don’t have to do it everyday. It’s ok if you skip a few days here and there.
      Actually I made gochujang in my apartment, too! It turned out good.

      • strwbrrypie Toronto, Canada joined 8/12 & has 3 comments

        Maangchi! Maangchi! I’m worried about my gochujang now. Unfortunately the weather has changed here and almost everyday is very cold and cloudy and my gochujang is not fully fermented yet! Will it still ferment properly without sun? Should I move it to a warmer location, like the kitchen? I’m worried perhaps I made the gochujang too late in the season and now fall has arrived. :(

        I would love any advice you could give me, Thanks Maangchi!

        • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 11,695 comments

          Don’t worry much about it. It will ferment in a few months.
          It needs sunlight, so when the weather is sunny, open the lid with the mesh placed on top and let in the sunlight.
          When the sun goes down, stir the gochujang with a wooden spoon and close the lid. If the weather is not good, keep it closed.
          Good luck!!

  12. catherine_tan Malaysia joined 7/12 & has 3 comments

    maangchi
    can i replace onggi with glass pot?

    • catherine_tan Malaysia joined 7/12 & has 3 comments

      and can i use soy bean flour instead of fermented soy bean flour?

      • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 11,695 comments

        “can i use soy bean flour instead of fermented soy bean flour?” I’m sorry to say that you can’t replace fermented soybean powder (mejugaru) with soybean powder. “can i replace onggi with glass pot?” I don’t know. You can do some experiments and let us know the result.

        • texan TX, USA joined 7/12 & has 8 comments

          Hi Maangchi,
          Have you ever make your own fermented soy bean flour? It work out much cheaper for me.
          I think the fermented baked soy bean flour I made came out very good. If you like, I can post how I made it here.

          • KimcheeRon Malaysia joined 4/13 & has 1 comment

            Hi Maangchi and texan, I’ve the similar problem too, can’t get any fermented soybean powder in the local market and I was thinking whether can I make it myself? Pls share with me if you know how to make mejugaru, thanks!

          • oliveva United States joined 8/14 & has 3 comments

            Hi! I am very interested in learning how to make my own fermented soy bean flour. Could someone please share the process?
            Thank you!!

  13. catherine_tan Malaysia joined 7/12 & has 3 comments

    Maangchi
    if i cant find Earthenware pot can i replace with glass pot?

  14. texan TX, USA joined 7/12 & has 8 comments

    Hi Maangchi,

    I found you were making Jap Chae on Youtube yesterday. It looks good. Now I know different ways to cook starch noodle. Thank you.

    I am making gochujang right now.
    My gochujang have been under sunlight at 90F~110F since July 17.
    I put the pot under our big tree where it can get full sun for 3~4 hour before sun moved to the other side of our backyard. No lid but only carefully covered with cheese cloth.
    I moved it inside the house when temperature reached 100F.
    After the pot was inside the house for 2 hours (still only covered with cheese cloth), the pot was still warm and a little hot, temperature inside the house was around 78F~80F.
    After the pot completely cool down, then I put the lid on (on top of cheese cloth) overnight.

    This morning when I put the pot under the tree while removing the lid, I feel cheese cloth is a little damp. That is obvious gochujang evaporated after sunbathing. So, I wonder if I should cover the pot with the earthenware lid or just leave it overnight only cover with cheese cloth?

    Thank you so much!

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 11,695 comments

      “I wonder if I should cover the pot with the earthenware lid or just leave it overnight only cover with cheese cloth?”
      oh my! Put it in the fridge. I think it will expand even in the fridge. Add more salt to your gochujang and mix it well with a wooden spoon. You will need to keep an eye on your baby (gochujang) from now. : )
      “gochujang should not be made in the heat of summer or it will ferment too fast and explode. ..”

      • texan TX, USA joined 7/12 & has 8 comments

        Thank you so much Maangchi. I am glade I wrote right in the start of my gochujang project :) My gochujang was still outside sunbathing while I read your reply. Then I ran out to rescue my baby from the heat. Today is the “baby’s” 5th day under sunlight, and I think from what you said, I should just keep it cool from now on.
        I did stir it with wooden spoon and taste it. It tasted a little sweet and I can still feel the granule of sea salt. It seems sea salt still not completely dissolved. the color looks very good, just like Jamie’s complete product.
        I have a bigger pot than Jamie’s I think. Because I made the same amount and my pot is only 3/4 full. Maybe this is why my “baby” had not explode. LOL

        I don’t have enough space in the fridge now, so I will have to keep it in a cool place in the house. we keep our house in 78F~81F all summer long.

        What do you think?

        I think as long I keep my eye on it everyday and stir it once or twice a day, taste it every time, it should be safe. Right?

        Thanks again dear Maangchi.

        • texan TX, USA joined 7/12 & has 8 comments

          Today is 7th day of my gochujang. I stir it from the 5th day and taste it every time I check on it, it tasted better and better each day.
          Today it has less sea salt granule texture and the sweet after taste stays in my mouth for a long time. I love it.
          I think as long the granule texture of salt is gone, then fermentation may be completed.
          Can’t wait to use my gochujang to make bibimbop.

      • texan TX, USA joined 7/12 & has 8 comments

        Hi Maangchi,
        Thanks a lot for sharing this recipe. I manage to make my first gochujang successfully, under extreme climate in Texas in summer time. You are right about It need a lot of care and heart to make it. And gladly I made it! :)
        Before I decided to make gochujang, I’ve looked all over the internet, then I found your recipe seem to make more sense to me. I have a bag of 60lbs soybean that I use to make tofu and soybean milk, so I make my own fermented soybean powder.
        My gochujang fermented completely within 21 days and didn’t explode. I think it is because I have a bigger pot that leaves almost half of a pot space. I didn’t put more salt in it because I really wish to make healthier version of fermented past.
        I stir it everyday and tasted it as it gradually change its flavor. Today, as I stir and tasted it in my usual routing, the sea salt already totally dissolved and the amount of spiciness and sweetness come out just right. I like it not too salty.
        I don’t know if I can use it now. I put all of the past into few different size of plastic boxes and now all my gochujang is in the fridge.
        Thanks again for sharing the recipe.

        • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 11,695 comments

          It sounds like your gochujang turns out great! “the amount of spiciness and sweetness come out just right.” Yes, go ahead, I would start eating it.

          • texan TX, USA joined 7/12 & has 8 comments

            Hi Maanchi,
            My gochujang was ready about 4 weeks. I been using it for a lot of dishes. It bring up the flavor of a lots of food, such as seafood and meat.
            Thank you for the recipe.

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

          Hai Texan,
          Can you tell me how to make fermented soybean powder…?
          Thank you…..

  15. texan TX, USA joined 7/12 & has 8 comments

    Since I found this site, I have made dongchimi and two days ago I made cabbage kimchi. I like the recipes and they tasted so good. I believe the taste is authentically Korean. Maangchi is a fun lady and good Korean shelf. :)

    I can find all ingredients in Texas via Korean supermarket and Vietnamese super market. Fermented soybean flour is too expensive here, so I make it my own fermented soybean powder two days before I make gochujang. I use NGM soybeans. It takes one day to make fermented soybean powder but it’s all worth of work. Smells nice when I make it.

    I also learned a lot from the questions regarding heat, that, during fermentation under high heat can explode gochujang, and if heat, temperature, and sunlight are not combine well can spoil gochujang.
    Right now we have 90F~105F everyday on the high of the day. From what I’ve learned from you, I plan to put my gochujang outside under sun before 11am when it is not too hot but still can get about 3 hours direct sunlight. Move it in house to avoid more than 3 hours of 100F high heat, continue this process until winter comes.

    What do you think of my plan Maangchi?

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 11,695 comments

      “Right now we have 90F~105F everyday on the high of the day..” oh my! hot hot!
      “From what I’ve learned from you, I plan to put my gochujang outside under sun before 11am when it is not too hot but still can get about 3 hours direct sunlight. Move it in house to avoid more than 3 hours of 100F high heat, continue this process until winter comes”

      I’m very impressed with your passion! That’s a great idea if you can do it. : )

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