[ About Gochujang ]
Gochujang (hot pepper paste) is believed to have been first used in Korea in the late 18th century, after chili was introduced from Europe via Japan in the 16th century. According to the Jungbo Sallim gyeongje gochujang was made by adding powdered red chili peppers and glutinous rice powder to soybean paste, and aging this paste under the sun.
This recipe is similar to the recipe used today to make gochujang. SoonChang ( SunChang ) County is famous for its gochujang.
Gochujang’s primary ingredients are red chili powder, glutinous rice powder mixed with powdered fermented
soybeans, and salt.
Major substitutes for the main ingredient, glutinous rice (chapssal, hangul: 찹쌀), include normal short-grain rice (maepssal, hangul: 멥쌀), and barley, and less frequently, whole wheat kernels, jujubes, pumpkin, and sweet potato; these ingredients are used to make specialty variations.
A small amount of sweetener, such as sugar, syrup, or honey, is also sometimes added. It is a dark, reddish paste with a rich, piquant flavor.
The making of gochujang at home began tapering off when commercial production started in the early 1970s and came into the mass market.
Now, homemade gochujang can hardly be found. It is used extensively in Korean cooking, to flavor stews (jjigae) such as gochujang jjigae, marinate meat such as gochujang bulgogi, and as a condiment for naengmyeon and bibimbap.
Gochujang is also used as a base for making other condiments, such as chogochujang (초고추장) and ssamjang (hangul: 쌈장).
Chogochujang is a variant of gochujang made from gochujang with added vinegar and other seasonings, such as sugar and sesame seeds.
It is usually used as a sauce for hoe and hoedeopbap. Similarly, ssamjang is a mixture of mainly gochujang and doenjang,
with chopped onions and other spicy seasonings, and is popular with sangchussam (hangul: 상추쌈), which is a lettuce wrap of grilled meat, sliced garlic, green chili peppers and other vegetables.