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


  1. I loved not only your receipe for the Korean Hot Paste, but how interesting and informative your writing was. I not only got a great new receipe to try on my family, but also a bit of a funny history lesson as well.


  2. Will you have anymore receipes that you will share with us, and if so can we find them on this website or somewhere else?


  3. To answer your question Patricia; yes I plan on updating this blog with additional Korean receipes over time. All of the receipes that I will post are DIY receipes that I use in my own home, and with ingrediants that you can find in any grocery store or asian market.

    I hope you, your family and friends all enjoy them. Thank you also for your comments, and if you have any more questions of me, please feel free to ask.

    Bon Appetit!
    Robert Tull

  4. Ok, I did it, no kidding I made some Go Chu Jung tonight, and we had it with white rice, and barbequed pork. It was the best EVER! Can't beat it, and I don't even know what it costs in the store or where to get it, but your receipe was Li'Jit!