The ubiquitous Korean sauce that goes with EVERYTHING. If I had to choose one sauce to eat for the rest of my life, this would be it. Gochujang Sauce is the one Korean sauce that rules them all.
I grew up with Gochujang Sauce as a permanent fixture on the dinner table: a dip for cucumbers, tomatoes, and peppers. A sauce to swipe onto lettuce and perilla leaves, freshly picked from the garden. And of course, drizzled on top of rice bowls with a runny, sunny side up egg on top.
All to say, Gochujang Sauce is the versatile condiment that goes with just about anything and everything.
What is Gochujang?
Gochujang is Korean fermented chili paste. Just as Tabasco, Sriracha, Sambal Oelek, Chinese Chili Oil, etc., are their own thing — Gochujang stands alone. There’s really no substitute. Bright red with a thick, pasty texture, it adds instant flavor, depth, and savory-richness to any dish.
The fermentation process makes Gochujang truly special. The taste is spicy, sweet, savory, and a little smoky. There’s so much depth and umami goodness in one spoonful.
Gochujang comes in a plastic tub or glass jar. There’s also a spicy level, ranging from mild to very spicy. (Look at the front or back label.) Most grocery stores carry it nowadays. Check the Asian or International aisle and you’ll probably find it there.
Sometimes you’ll find it sold in squeeze bottles, similar to ketchup. That’s actually Gochujang SAUCE, not pure Gochujang. The squeeze bottle makes it easy to drizzle and eat immediately. But of course, homemade always tastes better. 😉
How is Gochujang different from Gochujang Sauce?
Gochujang is rarely eaten as is. Instead, Koreans add a few ingredients to create a runny, pourable, delicious sauce/dip. Common additions include: vinegar, sugar, garlic, sesame oil, green onion, etc. They are added in different amounts and proportions, depending on the household.
All to say, every Korean makes their Gochujang Sauce differently. Most don’t measure at all! They just add and mix and taste, then add and mix and taste again. There are tons of variations out there. And you’ll soon discover that you like your Gochujang Sauce a certain way, too.
This is the way I like mine: vinegary, sweet, with added edge from a little garlic.
What do you serve with Gochujang Sauce?
Classically, Gochujang Sauce is eaten as a sauce or dip. I think it’s easiest to think in terms of categories.
- Korean BBQ – Korean BBQ is not complete without it! Swipe onto lettuce wraps or use as a dip for grilled meat and vegetables. The absolute BEST!
- Bibimbap Bowls – Yes, Gochujang Sauce is also known as Bibimbap Sauce. Essential with classic Bibimbap but also good with any other kind of rice bowl! Drizzle all over for an easy and delicious flavor boost.
- Dip – use as a dip for simple crudites — cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, shishito peppers, etc. This is the way I grew up eating it in my Korean American home. (Koreans also dip shrimp cocktail, boiled squid, and even lobster into it!)
As a bonus, it’s oh so easy to make! With pantry ingredients! Well, my Korean American pantry, that is. If you love Korean food, I’m betting you have all the ingredients in your home right now.
Honestly, once you start making this sauce, life won’t be the same! Spicy-sweet Gochujang Sauce (also called Cho Gochujang) is calling your name!
EVERYTHING tastes good with this this Korean classic!
- 1/4 cup Gochujang Korean fermented chili paste
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- 1 Tbsp soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp sesame oil
- 1 Tbsp rice vinegar (white vinegar also works)
- 1 tsp sesame seeds
- 4 cloves garlic minced