Today we’re going to attempt something that no Korean dish is truly complete without: Gochujang. This condiment is what really sets off dishes like bibimbap, ddukbokki and bulgogi, and although quite time-consuming to make it really is unique, plus it will score you serious points if you can pull it off!
Gochujang is a red chili paste, also containing rice and soybeans, that is made through a fermentation process.
To add a bit of authenticity to this recipe, we’re going to make it just like many Koreans do – By making A LOT of it in one go. So, excuse the fairly large quantities here.
I think the prospect of making gochujang is intimidating to a lot of non-Korean people, but I think once you give this a once-through you’ll realise that it’s quite a simple process… Albeit a long one.
This is actually a seasonal condiment, with it typically being made in the winter months between November and February. This is because it needs to be fermented in the sun before it gets too hot.
Let’s get going!
- 2 lbs barley malt powder
- 4 cups fermented soybean powder
- 10 cups glutinous rice
- 4 cups kosher salt
- 8 cups rice syrup
- 16 cups red pepper powder
In a large (or rather huge) container, mix together all of the barley malt powder with 8 liters of water. Once thoroughly mixed, strain the mixture through a sieve into a large pot. Heat the mixture on a medium heat for around 20 minutes until it's warm (not hot).
Once the mixture is warm, remove it from the stove and add the glutinous rice and mix with a wooden spoon and then let sit for a couple of hours.
Over a medium-to-high heat, bring the mixture to the boil for two hours (and stir occasionally) until the whole thing reduces in sizes by about a quarter. Mix in the rice syrup and then remove from the stove until the whole mix has cooled down. Then add and mix in the soybean powder, salt and hot pepper powder.
Transfer the whole mix to a large pot or jar and, before closing the lid, cover the top with mesh. This is going to take a good couple of months to ferment, but once it's done you will have your
Have you ever made gochujang before? What’s your approach to making it? Let us know in the comments below!