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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176 Comments:

  1. Kiwipan joined 6/15 & has 1 comment

    Hi! I’m allergic to fructose… do you know of any alternatives I can use for making Gochujang? I’m in LOVE with it but I don’t know what syrup I could use…

  2. oliveva United States joined 8/14 & has 3 comments

    I did find this non-gmo fermented soybean powder:

    http://www.rockwellnutrition.com/Natural-Soy-Powder-Organic-GMO-Free-by-Vital-Nutrients_p_658.html#.VW9zemRViko

    Do you think it would work as the meju powder?
    Thanks so much for your time!!
    Eva

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

    Hi, So I was wondering if anyone has found a brand of fermented soybean powder (mejugaru) that states on the package that it is non-GMO?
    Thanks,
    Eva

  4. eclipseyesmile joined 3/15 & has 1 comment

    Hi! We barely get sun at all and it’s snowing in Finland, is there another way to ferment the gochujang, perhaps, with the oven?

  5. jordanmattes Arlington, WA, USA joined 11/11 & has 14 comments

    Is diastatic barley malt going to work? It’s the kind of malt that still has active enzymes, which I think is the same as the Korean type roughly. The Korean type is unavailable here in my current state of Montana, or online anywhere I know of, so it’ll be nice if this will work so I can make gochujang this summer.

  6. Piikea808 Hawaii joined 1/15 & has 2 comments

    Wondering if I can omit barley malt and just use rice flour instead? What’s the worst that could happen? Would it still be red pepper paste and ferment? I’m assuming taste would change. I checked Wikipedia and it said traditionally gochujang was made from red chili powder, glutinous rice powder,powdered fermented soybeans, salt, and sometimes a small amount of sweetener. Like some of your other followers I’m gluten intolerant and I love gochujang. It’s an integral part of many korean recipes. So I’m thinking of experimenting!

  7. dija morocco joined 12/14 & has 1 comment

    hello maangchi, can you propose something to substitute the malt powder?? i have gluten intolerance so i can not take it… i really wanna make the tteokppoki..thankss

  8. milbars Somewhere, USA joined 10/14 & has 1 comment

    I am on a very restrictive diet. I cannot eat wheat or soy (amongst other things). Do you know what I can substitute the barley malt powder (yeotgirem) and fermented soybean powder with?

  9. bwalker187 United States joined 10/14 & has 1 comment

    Hi! Can you tell me why the gochujang gets left in the sun? I’ve made many other ferments and this is the first that has such a specific sun requirement. Thanks!

  10. Grimnebulin78 connecticut joined 6/14 & has 1 comment

    I am making my own gochujang. I started it the beginning of June, I left it out for 5 or 6 hours a day for 10 or 12 days and they temp was between 70 and 80 degrees outside. Then I started leaving it out for an hr or two every three or four days in the morning. Do you think it will be ok? What should it taste like and should I add more salt now?

  11. Dotti Naknek, Alaska joined 4/14 & has 1 comment

    Hi Maangchi,
    I have been a long time fan of your YouTube videos and Blog. Yours is my favorite kimchi recipe and I make it whenever I can get the cabbage and radish out to my village, Everyone who tries it loves it! I have a question about making the gochujang. I have Celiac Disease so I can’t ingest gluten (anything with wheat, barly & rye,) Would it be possible to substitute something like chickpea flower, coconut flour, or even more rice flour? Thank you so much!!

  12. tsumehikari bandung joined 4/14 & has 1 comment

    hi maangchi, i have a question can i use fermented soybean paste (doenjang) instead of fermented soy bean powder(mejugaru)?

  13. SandiFinis Germany joined 3/14 & has 1 comment

    Hi Maangchi!
    Last year my husband discovered Korean cooking (and K-Pop) and we loved the few dishes we got to try. This year we found out we can’t eat food that contains gluten anymore, which includes anything with wheat and barley. We found a wheat-free soy sauce (finally!) but no gochujang without wheat. So we thought about making it ourselves. Is it possible to substitute the barley malt with something else? My husband would be so happy to eat gochujang again!

  14. Hanasu Li Ciel Wonderland joined 12/13 & has 2 comments

    Hi Maangchi , I already made my own gochujang and it taste less spicy just like 2 days when the first time I made it. Is it okay ? And its taste little sour. I put it inside refrigerator.

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 11,772 comments

      oh you made gochujang, great! : ) Gochujang is not that spicy even though its main ingredient is hot pepper powder. Does your gochujang taste a little sour? When gochujang is well fermented it tastes sweet, spicy, and a little sour, but it usually takes 3 to 5 months to ferment. It shouldn’t taste sour because you made it just 2 days ago. I would add more salt to the paste and keep it in the fridge. You must be living in a hot country?

      • Hanasu Li Ciel Wonderland joined 12/13 & has 2 comments

        Hahaha, yeah. I actually live in Malaysia. I totally in love with korean cooking. And I`m 16 years old next year. Still a growing up teenager. I want to learn how to cook korean food but sometimes I cant get the ingredients. How can I know if my gochujang is broken and cannot be eaten?
        I was making a gochujang refer to this recipe because I saw them in television before I found out this AMAZING website.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=ivuUvdUotMA

        // by the way.. keep posting a great korean recipe. I`m your cooking fans. Figthing ~

  15. mermaidem San Diego joined 11/13 & has 1 comment

    Hi, I love your posts, thank you for showing the way to make good korean recipes at home where I can control the ingredients! That said, I would love to make my own hot pepper paste as the ones in the store contain a lot of additives like MSG and likely use GM soybeans. I can’t seem to find any organic fermented soybean powder. Is there a way I can make my own? I have organic soybeans. Is the stuff sold as a protein shake on health websites the same? Thank you for your time!

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