Sunday, September 20, 2009

Korean Dipping Sauce (Joseon ganjang)

Korean Dipping Sauce or seasoned soy sauce (Joseon Ganjang, pronounced "Joe song Gong Ja") is probably one of the easiest Korean sauces to prepare. This dipping sauce is not only used to dip food items into, but it also doubles as the primary marinate for Korean Beef Barbeque(Bulgogi) and Korean Pork Barbeque (Dagi Gogi) barbeque dishes.

Although it is very easy to prepare, it remains essential that it is seasoned correctly if your marinated dishes are going to be marinated correctly, and your dipping sauce will provide your prepared dishes just the right seasoning and taste!

Besides marinating your beef and pork in this Korean Dipping Sauce to prepare them for barbeque, you will want to have the dipping sauce available to every guest eating at your dinner table. Koreans use Joseon Ganjang much like a condiment we would have at an american dinner table. Just as Americans might use ketchup on their french fry's, and mustard on their hot dog, Koreans might spread a table spoon or two of the Joseon Ganjang on top of their white or fried rice. As the Chinese use soy sauce to dip their egg rolls into, and the Japanese their Sushi, Koreans use Joseon Ganjang to dip their fried or steamed dumplings (Mon Do) into as well as a host of other food items.

So you can see, if your either preparing a Korean barbeque, or just serving a typical Korean meal of rice and vegetables, Korean Dipping Sauce (Joseon Ganjang) is a must have condiment on your dinner table.

So with this in mind, lets' prepare one of the most easy but essential Korean sauces - Joseon Ganjang!


1/2 cup of Soy Sauce (any store brand will do, but I prefer Japanese myself)

1/4 teaspoon of Powered Garlic

1/8 teaspoon of Powered Ginger

1/8 teaspoon of Table Salt

1/8 teaspoon of Meat Tenderizer

1/2 teaspoon of White Sugar

1/8 teaspoon of Cayenne Pepper

1 tablespoon of Sesame Seed Oil

1 whole diced green onion


Dice green onion and add to all ingredients in mixing bowl. Mix ingredients together with a metal spoon, cover tightly, and store in refrigerator until meal is ready to be served.

Ensure that you give one last stir to the sauce prior to placing it on your dinner table. I would recommend you pour into individualized size serving containers for each guest at your table. However, if you are serving your meal in a traditional Korean style, you would use only one container for the entire dinner party, and each guest would take what they need from the same dipping sauce bowl using their dinner spoon.

Remember, this Korean Dipping Sauce (Joseon ganjang) is a basic essential condiment for each and every Korean meal that you serve. I hope you enjoy the richness that it's spices will add to your prepared meals!

Bon Appetit!

Robert Tull
World Traveler and Gourmet

Friday, September 18, 2009

Korean Hot Paste (Gochujang)

Gochujang (pronounced Go Chew Jung) is a hot paste that is used to some degree in most Korean dishes, i.e. beef, pork, chicken, and even soups. Kim Chi (a Korean side dish, and basic staple food item) is made using Gochujang. Gochujang is what makes the hot fermented cabbage, radish or cucumber Kim Chi spicy hot and delicious. Gochujang is why Korean Bulgogi (Korean barbequed beef) is so popular with people all over the world.
People like spicy, and Gochujang is what spicy is all about. The worlds earliest explorers from Portugal, Spain and England, sought out new sea routes to places like India and Asia to find spices that were abundant, cheep and easily transported. They weren't looking for McDonalds, Taco Bell, or Burger King, they wanted spices that would turn their boring foods into something new and exotic, and India was just to far away, expensive, and difficult to reach. That's how North America was actually discovered!

In trying to reach Asia, they did run into North America. Yes, I know the famous explorers found new resources like tobacco (that got the British hooked), but once North America was discovered, they should have kept right on going until they found Korea. Long before the 14th and 15th centuries, Koreans were eating Gochujang with every meal! Just think of it, if Columbus had discovered Korea, we all could have been eating Gochujang for the past 500 years or more.

However,that unfortunantly didn't happen, and the Koreans kept their Gochujang a secret until after WWII, when the United States began posting American Soldiers within the Korean borders that Gochujang was finally discovered by a handful of American soldiers who must have thought it was a Korean National Secret, because they apparently never told anyone back in the States.

To this day, very few American's know about the wonderful blend of spices that Gochujang adds to Beef, Chicken and Pork dishes. The Secret though is finally coming out at last! In todays Global World Economy, people are traveling to other countries more than ever before, and they are bringing back with them all kinds of new foods, spices, receipes, cooking utensils, etc.

It is very difficult in the United States to find Korean Gochujang (usually only in a Korean Market) unless you live in an area with a large Korean population. Even then, if you are lucky enough to find it, the cost is pretty steep! So just like the worlds earliest explorers, we need to find a new route, that isn't to difficult, and isn't to expensive so that we all can have our own Gochujang in our own homes. The way to do this is to "Do It Ourselves!"

Yes that's right, you heard me right, we can make our own Korean Gochujang right in our own homes, and I'm going to tell you how. The best part of it is, is that it's not difficult to make, it won't cost you very much money, and it will turn out better than the store bought kind!

So lets begin to Do It Ourselves Gochujang.


1 12 oz can of Tomatoe Paste

1 cup of white sugar

1/2 cup of brown sugar

1/4 cup of maple syrup

2 table spoons of honey

2 table spoons of power garlic

1 table spoon of ginger

1 table spoon of salt

1 teaspoon of sesame seed oil

3 table spoons of white vinegar

2 table spoons of flour

4 table spoons of cayenne pepper

5 table spoons of water


Put all ingrediants into mixing bowl, and mix together with a soup spoon stiring together until you have a thick rich paste. Add alittle hot tap water if needed to thin it out alittle, but final Gochujang should be thick (thinner than peanut butter, but thicker than ketchup) and a dark red color. If you like your Gochujang to be extra hot and spicy, add alittle more cayenne pepper, garlic and ginger to the mix.

Please remember, your Gochujang will become more hot and spicy by the second day. Put your Gochujang into a tupperwear bowl or locking metal container, and keep stored in your refrigerator so that it will not go bad. You can keep your Gochujang this way in your refrigerator for many weeks without it going bad (just like mayonnaise, mustard, ketchup or A1 Steaksauce).

Gochujang can be used on beef, chicken or pork just like you would use barbeque sauce, however, the end result is much different! It is so yummy, and if you like it on your meats, I encourage you to add a tablespoon to your homemade beef soup. Just put it into the soup, stir it up and enjoy! Gochujang also goes great on plain white or fried rice, egg rolls, and of course, in making your homemade Kim Chi as well. Bon Appetit!

Robert Tull

World Traveler & Gourmet