Homemade gochujang recipe that allows you to have a ready-to-eat gochujang in just a couple hours! What? That’s almost instant in the Korean fermentation world!! Is that possible?? Is it any good? You may ask… And my answer is YES and Yes, I mean, it’s pretty good considering it is ready in just few hours vs months.
So I have to say I was pretty skeptical when I first learned this easy and quick homemade gochujang recipe from a temple food instructor Ms. Han a few years back while in Korea. I first met her while attending a temple food (sachal eumsik 사찰음식) class. Afterwards we kind of became friends… During class, she shared on how temple food helped her regain her health after having suffered with various health issues for so many years. Several years before, she said she was an art student in Italy and because she was so busy with her studies, she did not even have time to grocery shop properly let alone cooking for herself. So she said she ate just canned and instant foods all the time. Little by little, her health started to deteriorate with skin issues and other stomach issues. Things got so bad that she had to give up her studies and come back home to Korea. After coming back to Korea, she tried everything to cure her illnesses but nothing really helped until she decided to totally change her diet and went fully into temple food. She said after 6 months or so of cooking and eating temple food, her health slowly got back to normal and now, although she still has sensitive skin, she told us that she has no other health issues. So, naturally, she became a fan of temple food!
In 2014, when I opened my cooking studio in Seoul, she shared this easy and quick ready-to-eat gochujang recipe as a gift to me. And I was recently reminded of this recipe while I was making my gochujang for this year. I know this instant homemade gochujang recipe will never have the complex flavors that my authentic gochujang recipe (also on my blog) will develop over time but I know that this easy homemade gochujang recipe is still much better than the store bought ones – both in terms of flavor and health (no corn syrup and very little gluten).
The main difference between the two recipes is the milled malt barley. This quick and easy homemade gochujang recipe does not use any milled malt barley but just uses Korean rice syrup (jocheong 조청). But jocheong is made from rice and milled malt barley (yeotgireum 엿기름) so in some ways we are not going too far off the original recipe.
BTW, when I say ‘quick’, I mean quicker than my original recipe. 2 days + months of fermentation VS 2 hrs + few days of fermentation (optionally).
So here’s how you can make your own –
EASY HOMEMADE GOCHUJANG RECIPE
Makes: 4 cups Total Time: 2:40 hrs (Active: 40 min) Difficulty: Easy
Ingredients (** you can buy all the needed ingredients from my store – see Fermentation category)
- 2 C Korean gochukaru for gochujang (fine chili powder for gochujang) 고운고추가루
- 1.5 C meju powder (fermented soybean powder)
- 1/2 C sweet rice flour
- 1/2 C sea salt
- 1 C rice syrup (jocheong)
- 3.5 C water
- 1 Tbs green plum syrup (maesil cheong) – optional
- soju or sake – optionally if too thick
- In a pot (preferable flat bottomed and uniform sides), mix water and sweet rice flour. Mix it well with a whisk. Bring to boil, stirring often to prevent any lumps from forming and to make a paste. (much like sweet rice paste for kimchi)
- When it starts to boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 min. or so until it is fully thickened to a paste. Stirring often to avoid lumps.
- Add 1 cup rice syrup to sweet rice flour paste and mix. You can add more if you want a sweeter gochujang.
Once you mix the syrup, the paste will become watery, no longer thick. That’s fine. Just continue to simmer for another 20-25 minutes until the volume reduces about 20%. Tip – you can measure the 20% reduction of liquid by using a chopstick to measure the height of the pot at the beginning and throughout. So if the height was 10 cm to start, you can stop when it is 8 cm. Note this will work only if you have a pot that is uniform in shape i.e. the diameter of the bottom and top of the pot is the same.
- Turn off heat and let it cool.
Cooling time will be different based on your room temperature but for me it took about 2 hrs to cool the rice paste + rice syrup mixture from 3. It doesn’t have to be cold, just room temp. I transferred it to this glass measuring cup to cool it more quickly. You can always cool it in the fridge or in an ice bath to shorten the cooling time.
- Add meju powder, chili powder and salt to cooled rice syrup liquid.
- Use a whisk and mix everything well until there are almost no lumps.
- And there you go! You now have instant gochujang that you can use right away!!
- Buy special fine chili powder that is made specifically for gochujang (고추장용) or grind it very fine, like ground black pepper.
- Store in fridge to extend its shelf life.
- Let your gochujang mature a little more for 2-3 days in the fridge or at cool temperature before using it for even more flavor.
- It is important that the rice paste is cooled (not cold but room temp). If you add meju powder to hot liquid, the smell of meju powder will be too strong.
- If gochujang mixture seems to be too thick, you can add 1-3 Tbs of sake or soju. Mine came out a little on the thick side – I like mine that way.
- If you have maesil cheong (green plum syrup), you can add 1-2 Tbs for added flavor and sweetness. Now, you have Maesil flavored Gochujang. You can make your own maesil cheong or buy it.
Well, I hope you like this easy gochujang recipe!