It feels so easy to slip into the routine of just making the same recipes and meals over and over again.
If you live a busy life it can be difficult to even attempt to escape this and start making new types of food.
However, doing this is worth the effort as it will help you enjoy eating more, improve your quality of life, and help you get a more healthy and balanced diet.
So if you feel like you are constantly making the same food what is an easy way to get inspiration for new recipes to try?
One of the most economical ways to learn new recipes is to center your recipes around one or two new ingredients and use this to spice up what you are making.
By just adding a couple commonly used ingredients into your repertoire you will massively increase the amount of recipes it is possible for you to make.
Since some ingredients are staples, once they are in your pantry, you know you will be able to rely on them to make some of your new favorite dishes.
So what are some of these staple ingredients that are worth learning to use?
An easy way to choose a staple ingredient to learn recipes around is to choose an ingredient which is foundational to a cuisine you like eating but do not know how to make yourself.
For example if you like eating a certain culture’s cuisine when eating at restaurants or having takeaway, but you want to make healthier or more accessible versions yourself, you can research what ingredients are staples to capturing the tastes of this culture’s food.
One food culture which has started gaining more global attention in recent years is Korean food.
There are plenty of unique aspects to Korean food and there are a wide variety of recipes which are unique to this culture.
There are plenty of spicy foods, and combinations of sweet and spicy, and umami flavors are used more often than they are in Western cuisine.
So if you love Korean food and want to know how to make some of it yourself, what is one ingredient which you should learn how to cook with? The answer to this is gochujang.
This spicy and sweet pepper paste is not too expensive, is relatively easy to work with, and will last quite a while in your fridge before expiring meaning you can use it at your own pace (but believe us, you will be getting through it quickly).
And the best bit is that this paste is used in a wide variety of Korean recipes.
So if you want to learn how to start cooking with gochujang and do not know where to start, this guide is here to help you.
We have gathered 26 completely unique recipes which all use gochujang to achieve delicious results!
These recipes range from snacks to whole meals, so you will not run out of inspiration or ideas quickly.
If you have just bought some gochujang and want an idea of what to make first, look through all 26 of these recipes, and see which suits your tastes bests and get cooking!
One of the most famous and enjoyed Korean street foods which is often eaten as a snack, but depending on how you prepare it, it can be a whole meal if you give it some fitting sides. It also perfectly captures the flavors of gochujang.
It is actually easier to make this fermented dish than you think, and while you can buy it for quite a reasonable price, it is satisfying to make it yourself and the results are delicious!
These udon noodles are packed with flavor because of the gochujang infused sauce.
If you want a quick and filling meal full of spicy flavor, you have to try this recipe.
If you are tired of standard meatball flavors, this drizzled gochujang sauce puts so much flavor onto these filling meatballs which will make you want to keep cooking more.
If you love fried chicken and want to try a new sauce to serve them with, and a new style to fry them, this Korean fried chicken is a must-try.
This spicy stew is absolutely packed with flavor and is a great side to serve with bigger meals.
If you love stews and want to try something completely new.
If you are obsessed with flavor filled air fryer recipes, this cauliflower recipe is healthy and packed with flavor.
If you want a new favorite snack food, this should be something to try!
This rice bowl is a perfect filling meal to make when you do not have a lot of time but still want a filling meal with plenty of flavor.
This is a great combination of flavors with the gochujang seasoning with the ranch crispy chicken.
If you love crispy chicken and want a new way to serve it, try this recipe.
Cooking beef in a slow cooker is a great way to guarantee great flavor, and the flavors of gochujang develop immensely after being cooked into the beef.
If you have never tried beef bulgogi, this recipe makes cooking it easy, so you have no excuse to not try this delicious recipe!
This is another filling bowl full of flavor and the fresh greens contrast the intense flavor of the gochujang perfectly.
Bulgogi tacos is a great combination of cuisines and the kimchi salsa perfectly complements the flavors which it is served with.
This flavorful way to season fried rice is a must-try if you like unique flavors of rice served with your mains.
Gochujang ribs are a must-try and this recipe makes them easy!
Korean stir-fry chicken is super easy to make and full of flavor.
These noodles are full of flavor and are great for spice lovers!
This is a great seasoning mix for any vegetables, but trying it on fennel is amazing.
This is another great stew recipe which is definitely worth making!
This ground pork (see also our favorite ground pork recipes) soup is full of flavor!
If you love miso soup and want it spicier, try this recipe!
If you want a quick Korean style dinner, use gochujang in this recipe.
Seasoning butternut with gochujang is a great combination of flavor!
This tofu crumble is full of flavor and a great snack.
These Korean style sweet potatoes are a delicious side.
This is one of the best ways to prepare tofu if you want a dish full of flavor.
Hopefully this guide has made clear just how much you can make using gochujang as the foundation for different recipes.
Once you have tried a few of these you will start to understand just how easy it is to work with gochujang and how easily you will be able to implement it into other meals!
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is Gochujang?
Gochujang is a quite thick paste which is a deep shade of crimson, it is made from red chile pepper flakes as well as glutinous rice, salt, and fermented soy beans.
When it is made in the traditional way it will also be fermented to make sure that its flavors develop to be as impactful as possible and while this is happening the starches which are in the glutinous rice will be turned into sugars which is why this ingredient has a noticeable sweetness which a similar paste would not.
If you do not like spice, this paste will probably not be for you. It is by no means the spiciest paste around to use in your cooking, but it is quite hot, but this heat is used to add to its amazing flavor.
The fermented soy beans also make it taste quite similar to miso style ingredients which is why the flavor of this paste can be described as umami.
Can You Substitute Gochujang?
If you really can not find gochujang, unfortunately there are not many ingredients which will recreate anything similar to its taste.
Some recipes will recommend using gochugaru instead of it (Korean chili powder) but this is actually more uncommon than gochujang tends to be.
Some people also recommend paprika as a substitute for gochugaru, but at this point you are at so many levels of disconnection that you might as well make something more tailored to paprika.
Even if you can find gochugaru, it does not always work in place for gochujang, and they are by no means interchangeable, most recipes actually use both of these ingredients since they are more complimentary instead of similar.
Unfortunately, for most recipes, if you can not find gochujang, you will struggle to recreate its flavor with anything else.
How Long Does It Take For Gochujang To Go Bad?
Since gochujang is a fermented paste, one of its most useful qualities is that it does not go bad that quickly and once you have opened a tub of it (these can be quite big) these can last for around 2 years if you keep it stored in a refrigerator, so do not worry if you have had it around for a few months, but maybe label the tub, so you can throw it out if you get past a year.
Can You Make Your Own Gochujang?
You can make your own gochujang, however, this will not last nearly as long as standard store bought gochujang, and you will need to get specialist equipment if you want to make gochujang which can be fermented and then last longer.
Homemade gochujang is made with gochugaru which may be quite hard to source, but other than this the other ingredients should be much easier to find.
The other ingredients which are included are water, honey, red miso paste, sake, salt, and rice vinegar.
There are often different proportions which different recipes use, so if you want a more detailed guide, find a recipe which will go more in detail and go step by step.
How Spicy Is Gochujang?
If you do not like any spice at all, you will not like gochujang, however, gochujang is nowhere near as spicy as some other pastes and is less than 1000 scoville heat units meaning it is much more mild than a lot of spicier seasonings. If you are fine with some spice, you should be fine with gochujang.
Can I Eat Gochujang Raw?
Because of the fermented spices which are in gochujang it is heavily recommended to not eat it raw or straight out of the container and this is very likely to cause stomach issues.
Some people use it as a dipping sauce, but for the most part it works much better and the flavors will be better once they have been cooked into something else.
Where To Buy Gochujang?
Most Asian supermarkets, or even smaller Asian stores should have gochujang in stock since it is such an important ingredient for so many Korean dishes.
If you do not live within reasonable distance of any Asian supermarkets, you can find it in some bigger general supermarkets, but probably not in smaller ones which do not have a dedicated foreign food section.
If none of these options are feasible for you, you can find gochujang on most online retailers which sell food, and there are some Asian food suppliers who deliver, but these tend to rely heavily upon where you are located.
You can gochujang on websites like Amazon.