Ingredient of the Week: Gochujang

By Bettina Campolucci Bordi

1 year ago

How to use the punchy Korean ingredient

Each week plant-based cook Bettina Campolucci Bordi, founder of Bettina’s Kitchen, gives us the lowdown on a particular seasonal fruit, vegetable or ingredient, offering cooking tips and a recipe. This week it’s gochujang.

Ingredient of the Week: Gochujang

I love exploring new and exciting ingredients from all around the world. One such ingredient that has recently become more polarized and caught my attention is gochujang. I have been a fan for a long time – ever since my first trip to Korea more than 15 years ago. This Korean ingredient is a spicy and flavourful paste that is made from red chilli peppers, glutinous rice, fermented soybeans, and salt. Here, I will share some fun facts about gochujang and explore its uses in cooking.



Did you know that gochujang has been a staple ingredient in Korean cuisine for over 1000 years? It is a key ingredient in many Korean dishes, from stews and soups to marinades and sauces.

Gochujang has a unique flavour that is both spicy and slightly sweet. It is often compared to the flavour of miso paste or Thai chili sauce, and is commonly used in marinades, dipping sauces, and as a flavouring for stews and soups. One of my favourite ways to use it is to make a spicy Korean-style noodle dish. To make this dish, simply cook your favourite noodles according to the package directions, then toss with a mixture of gochujang, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, and a touch of sugar. Top with sautéed vegetables, tofu, or your favourite protein for a delicious and spicy meal.

Another popular use is in marinades for grilled or roasted meats. To make a gochujang marinade, simply mix together gochujang, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, and a touch of honey or brown sugar. This marinade is perfect for beef, chicken, or pork, and will give your meat a spicy and flavourful kick.

Another popular use is as a dipping sauce for vegetables or tofu. To make a gochujang dipping sauce, simply mix together gochujang, rice vinegar, soy sauce, and a touch of honey or brown sugar. This sauce is perfect for dipping raw vegetables or grilled tofu, and provides a spicy and flavourful kick to the dish.

Gochujang was traditionally made by women who would gather together to make large batches of the paste for their families. I have had the great pleasure of making kimchi into one of my best friend’s family which is truly something special.

Health Benefits

In addition to being a delicious ingredient, gochujang also has some health benefits. It is packed with vitamins and minerals, including vitamin B2, vitamin C, and iron. It also contains capsaicin, which is a compound that has been shown to boost metabolism and reduce inflammation. 

Overall, gochujang is a versatile and delicious ingredient that can be used in a variety of dishes. And with its health benefits and long history in Korean cuisine, it’s definitely an ingredient worth exploring in the kitchen. Below is a great dressing that packs a punch and will make any dish sing. It is also super easy.

Gochujang Dressing

Makes 1 jar


  • 1 spring onion, finely sliced
  • 1 tsp sesame seed oil
  • 1 tsp gochujang
  • 20ml apple cider vinegar
  • 100ml olive oil
  • 1 tsp maple syrup or honey
  • ½ tsp salt


Add all ingredients to a jar, screw on the lid and shake well until combined!