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Is Gochujang Spicy? (4 Easy Homemade Recipes)

Jason Park
Published by: Jason Park
Published on:

Looking to try out your new recipe with gochujang, but you don’t know if it’s spicy?

Gochujang has become such a popular ingredient these days, that everyone uses it. Even studies have shown that gochujang is healthy.

But knowing that it won’t hurt your health, you’re probably not here for that reason.

In short: Gochujang is spicy, but not as spicy as green peppers. It’s about 1/10 of that. So, eating gochujang won’t burn your mouth. And adding some other flavors to it will lessen the spice, which makes it even milder.

Now, most recipes that include gochujang aren’t very spicy. Unless you’re adding a ton of other spices yourself.

PS: If you’re wondering if your gochujang has gone bad, check out this post.

Is Gochujang Spicy or Sweet?

Usually, gochujang is a bit of both.

It’s both spicy and sweet. You can make the flavor stronger by adding other types of spices. Some ingredients that are very popular with gochujang are:

  • Sesame oil
  • Soil sauce
  • Rice vinegar
  • Maple syrup

These combined with gochujang will make the taste melt in your mouth. And if you really want to enjoy your gochujang, it’s best to eat it with Korean BBQ.

Almost all Korean BBQ places have gochujang…

…at least 99.99% of the places I went to have gochujang. It’s something that can’t be missed out on when eating meat. 

If I had to rate it on a spice scale it would be on the lower end.

Mainly because gochujang also has a sweet flavor to it, the spiciness doesn’t overpower it. And the people that say gochujang is extremely spicy most often have a very low tolerance for spicy food.

 4 Easy Homemade Gochujang Recipes

1. Kimchi Jjigae

  • Main Ingredients: kimchi, pork belly, green onions, sugar, gochujang, sesame oil
  • Cooking Time: 20 minutes

Kimchi jjigae is a Korean spicy soup made from kimchi. This dish is incredibly popular in Seoul and all over the world. It’s by far one of the easiest dishes to make with gochujang.

Now, keep in mind that the main ingredient here is kimchi. Gochujang is only an additional ingredient that gets added to this dish. You can add other ingredients to this dish like tofu, onions, or any type of vegetables you’d like.

This is the dish every Korean mom makes once in a while. If you haven’t tried this already, you’re missing out big time. 

When it comes to gochujang recipes this is by far one of the easiest dishes to make.

Kimchi Jjigae is a bit spicy compared to the other gochujang recipes. However, you can add less gochujang to this dish, which will make it milder. 

2. Tteokboki

  • Main Ingredients: rice cakes, fish cakes, onions, gochujang, garlic, soy sauce
  • Cooking Time: 20 minutes 

Tteokbokki is a very popular Korean dish made from Korean rice cakes. This dish is sold everywhere in the world. And you can even buy instant tteokbokki in most grocery stores.

Now, if those are tasty is the question… but from staying in Korea for 14-days I can definitely say that homemade tteokbokki is very delicious. It will literally melt in your mouth.

Tteokbokki does have a lot of gochujang, which may be spicy for some people. Albeit not the spiciest food out there, it’s still quite spicy for most people.

There are recipes out there that are very mild. But those aren’t very popular, since tteokbokki is known for having a lot of gochujang. Make sure to give it a go, you won’t be disappointed.

3. Dakgalbi

  • Main Ingredients: garlic, soy sauce, ginger, cabbage, gochujang, rice
  • Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Dakgalbi is a Korean dish that’s made from spicy chicken, fried rice, and gochujang. It’s very spicy compared to the other dishes, which probably makes it the most popular. This dish gets eaten a lot with soju on the side.

If you’ve ever visited a Korean street food market, then you’ve probably seen dakgalbi. It can’t be missed. Even though this isn’t as popular as Tteokbokki or Kimchi Jjigae it’s still very well known in Korea.

Overseas it might not be as popular. When it comes to gochujang in this dish, it’s extremely spicy. On a spice level, I would rate this an 8/10. 

If you haven’t tried this already, I’d highly recommend it. And if you’re allowed to make sure to grab a bottle of soju on the side. That will make it even better.

4. Bibimbap

  • Main Ingredients: carrots, cucumber, red bell pepper, green onions, gochujang, soybean sprouts, rice
  • Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Bibimbap is a Korean dish that’s literally mixed with different kinds of vegetables. You can add or remove any vegetable you’d like and replace them with others.

You can make this from anywhere you’d like. It doesn’t matter whether you’re in Amsterdam or Seoul, this dish is literally the easiest to make.

You only need a few vegetables, some gochujang, and rice. That’s all there is to it. Then you mix them together, and put a fried egg on top.

Conclusion

After all, if you’re thinking about making a dish with gochujang. It’s good to know that it isn’t very spicy compared to green peppers. You can add ingredients such as rice to make it less spicy. But generally speaking, gochujang is not very spicy. 

About The Author

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Jason Park

Jason has been living in Seoul for over 4 years, and during that time, he has experienced many of the city's hidden stores. He loves to write about his experiences and share them with others. Jason has been quoted and referenced by different major media companies like Mashed, Distractify, ThePrint and TastingTable. In his free time, he likes to watch Korean dramas and learn more about Korean culture.

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