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Postcards from the Bench

Discover Gochujang: A Sweet, Sophisticated Heat

October 2021 | Ron, Principal Research Chef

It all started when I was 11 years old, watching a chef carve steamship round at Mother’s Day Brunch. Completely amazed, I started baking and cooking with my mom and fell in love with the emotional connection of watching people enjoy the food I prepared for them.

Fast-forward to today (all grown up!) and I’m a Principal Research Chef, living out this inspired connection between food and audience daily. I also happen to love spicy flavors – but more than just the melt-your-face kind of high-level heat. Sriracha, Cholula® Hot Sauce, green chili sauce – all my go-to’s. So when I was asked to create a gochujang paste that was commercially available in bulk and delivered on the fermented flavors of Korean Cuisine, it felt like the perfect project.

Gochujang is a Korean pepper paste made from fermented chilies and beans. Sweet and spicy, it’s delivers a sophisticated heat and flavor that’s a staple in Korean cuisine, especially bibimbap bowls.

Using already fermented products like soy sauce, black garlic, miso paste and yeast extract, I combined all of that with Korean chili flakes to create the iconic fermented notes of gochujang. The result? A taste experience that really hits the mark when it comes to the increasing popularity of Korean profiles (especially with Gen Z): salty, sweet, fermented umami, and heat. 

 
This unique flavor profile makes gochujang a versatile application. I love it applied to sauces, salad dressings, marinades, rice seasoning, Korean coleslaw dressing, used as a condiment, or for flavoring broths and soups … even flavored Korean ketchup!

 

Feeling inspired? To deliver a profile of authentic Korean flavor complexity to your savory applications with Gochujang Paste, get in touch with McCormick today.