Best Gochugaru Substitute
Gochugaru is an amazing Korean condiment that has become increasingly popular around the world. It’s spicy, tangy, salty, sweet, sour, and savory. It’s also delicious on its own, but it’s even better when used in most Korean dishes. There are two types of Gochu pepper, the mild flavor is known as deolmaewoon gochugaru, and the extra spicy flavor is the maewoon gochugaro.
More than acting as a good Korean spice, it also offers health benefits such as:
- Helps to reduce cholesterol levels and high blood sugar level
- Improves digestion
- Gives a good amount of iron to regulate blood cells
- Reduces inflammation
- Increases energy level
- Rich in antioxidants
- Aids in the detoxification process
So, if you’re looking for a go-to substitute for this Korean chili pepper, we have got the list of the best Gochugaru substitute for you.
How to Pick A Good Gochugaru Substitute
There are many different types of Gochujuru available today. Some people prefer their gochugaru with more heat while others like theirs milder. To pick the best substitute for gochugaru, you might want to consider these things when cooking Korean food:
1. The type of chili pepper they use – some brands may be made from dried red chilies, while others contain fresh green or yellow peppers. You can always ask your local store if they carry any particular brand of Gochugaru.
2. How much salt they add – some brands may not include as much salt as others. This means that you’ll need less of this ingredient to make up for the lack of saltiness.
3. What kind of vinegar do they use – there are two main kinds of vinegar commonly found in Korea; rice wine vinegar and distilled white vinegar. Both work well as substitutes for each other, so choose whichever one works best for you.
4. Added sugar – most Gochugarus don’t contain added sugars because Koreans believe adding too much sugar makes food taste artificial. However, some manufacturers do add small amounts of sugar to give their products a little sweetness.
Best Gochugaru Substitute
This is probably the most common gochugaru alternative out there. It comes in both chili paste form and chili powder form made from sticky rice. In terms of flavor, it tastes very similar to gochugaru, which has a spicy flavor. However, it tends to be sweeter than gochugaru, which gives it a slightly caramelized flavor in a bright crimson color.
Gochujang is made of fermented soybeans mixed with various spices such as garlic, ginger, onion, sesame seeds, etc. It’s usually sold either by itself or along with kimchi, as seen in most Korean dishes. When buying gochujang, look for a product that contains at least 10% glutinous rice flour. Glutinous rice flour helps thicken the sauce and adds extra body to the final dish. You can find gochujang online or in Asian specialty stores.
2. Sandi Chiles
Sandi Chiles is another perfect replacement for gochugaru and for those who love hot sauces. They come in several varieties, including regular, medium, and super hot. They are also widely used in Korean cuisine, where they are known as “gochuchae.” Like gochujang, Sandi chiles are made using fermented soybean paste. But unlike gochujang, though, Sandi chiles aren’t seasoned before being ground into a fine powder.
3. Fish peppers
Fish peppers are actually pretty easy to find since they are often stocked alongside the fish sauce. These peppers are typically smaller than normal bell peppers and have a stronger flavor compared to standard bell peppers. They are mostly used in soups and stews rather than salads.
Fish peppers are a great substitute for gochugaru because they have a strong spicy flavor but retain their salty kick. If you’d like something even spicier, try adding them with habanero peppers. Just be careful not to scorch your taste buds.
4. Guajillo Powder
Guajillo Powder is native to Mexico and Central America. Their name literally translates to “little bird peppers” because they resemble birds when viewed head-on. It has a reddish-brown color, but guajillos have moderate heat on the tongue and are more sweet-tasting, unlike many peppers. These characteristics are perfect for making dishes that require a subtle heat without overpowering the overall flavors.
Some people use Guajillo Powder as a substitute for gochugaru because it has a smoky flavor that pairs really nicely with foods containing meat. For example, if you were cooking beef stew, you could easily swap out half of your gochugaru for this powder instead.
5. Cayenne Pepper
Cayenne Pepper or Cayenne Pepper Flakes are dried red chili pepper flakes commonly found in supermarkets worldwide. The cayenne pepper plant originated from South American countries like Peru and Bolivia. While cayenne pepper isn’t technically considered an herb, it’s one of the hottest peppers available, so its effects are comparable to other herbs. This spice is best suited for dishes that need just a hint of heat.
You can use the cayenne pepper as a substitute for gochugaru by sprinkling some over meats, vegetables, eggs, etc. It can be a good substitute since it provides similar amounts of hotness and smoky flavor while not overwhelming any particular food item. However, we would not recommend substituting too much cayenne pepper for Korean recipes unless you’re looking to create a very intense fire or smoky taste. To reduce its spice level, soak the cayenne pepper into a lukewarm water.
6. Kashmir Pepper Powder
Kashmir Pepper Powder is an Indian chili powder made from the berries of Kashmir chilies. In addition to having a unique flavor all their own, Kashmir peppers contain high levels of vitamin C, which makes them ideal for maintaining healthy skin. When added to dishes, Kashmir Peppers provide a nice amount of heat along with a slight sweetness. You’ll notice that most Indian restaurants will add Kashmir Pepper Powder to curries and rice dishes.
This spicy powder is also used as a substitute for gochugaru because both spices share similar properties. Both are fairly potent and work well together in dishes where you want a little bit of heat. We wouldn’t suggest using too much Kashmir Pepper Powder, though; otherwise, you may end up with a dish that tastes overly bitter.
7. Chile Pasilla
Chile Pasilla is commonly used as a replacement for jalapeño peppers. They come from the same family and look almost identical except for being slightly smaller than Jalapeno peppers. Like jalapeños, pasillas usually have dark color but turn bright orange once ripe. These peppers are often smoked before drying, resulting in a sweeter flavor and extra kick. As such, they make excellent additions to sauces and stews.
Chile Pasilla can also be used as an alternative to gochugaru because they have a similar spice level. If you don’t mind adding a touch of smokey flavor, then Chile Pasilla might be a great option for those who prefer less spicy dishes. Otherwise, stick with some Korean spices with a strong spicy flavor.
8. Aleppo Pepper
Aleppo Pepper is a type of black peppercorn, an essential ingredient native to a Syrian town. Its name comes from the city of Aleppo, where these peppers originally grew wild. Because of how rare they are, Aleppo peppers tend to cost more than regular black pepper. But when compared to other types of black pepper, Aleppo peppers pack quite a punch! Their distinct flavor profile includes notes of citrus, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, and ginger.
It is a good alternative to gochugaru since it has a similar flavor profile. Although this spice doesn’t offer nearly as much heat level as gochugaru, it does give off a lot of aroma and flavor. So if you’re looking for something milder, try out Aleppo Pepper instead.
9. Chipotle Powder
Chipotle Powder is popular in Mexican spicy foods due to its distinctive flavors. The chipotles impart a rich smokiness into the final product. This gives the dish a wonderful depth of flavor without overpowering anything else. Since it’s so versatile, you can easily find it at your local grocery store.
As far as substitutes go, Chipotle Powder works really well in place of gochugaru because it shares many similarities. It provides a subtle hint of smoky flavor while still giving off a pleasant taste. However, we would recommend sticking with traditional gochujang recipes rather than substituting them with Chipotle Powder. That way, you won’t lose any of the authentic flavors.
10. Chile de Arbol
Chile de Arbol is mostly found in Latin American countries like Mexico or Peru. In fact, there are over 100 different types of chiles available throughout South America alone. Chiles are one of the most important ingredients in cooking across all cultures. And although their use varies by region, chilies are always added during the last step of food preparation.
This particular variety of chili is known for having a very intense flavor. Thus it works well as a substitute for Korean chili powder. You’ll notice that it packs a bit more kick than gochugaru, which makes it perfect for spicing up soups, stews, and even desserts. Just keep in mind that it will add a little extra fire to whatever recipe calls for gochugaru or any spicy Korean recipe.
How to Store Gochugaru
Gochugaru should ideally stay refrigerated once opened. Once stored properly, gochugaru will remain fresh for about 6 months. To ensure proper storage, make sure not to open the jar until just before using it. Also, do not leave gochugaru exposed to direct sunlight. Instead, cover it with plastic wrap or aluminum foil.
If you want to extend the shelf life of gochugaru, freeze it first. Freezing will help preserve the quality of the spices. After freezing, transfer the container back to the refrigerator. Make sure to thaw frozen gochugaru completely before opening.
How to Make Homemade Gochugaru
This homemade Korean chili flakes is actually easy to do. It only needs some Korean ingredients and a little effort from you.
Yield: 1 cup
- 2 lbs Korean red chili pepper
1. Chop off the stem of each red pepper.
2. Put the peppers into the dehydrator trays and set the equipment to 125°F(52°C). Let them dry until crisp and inelastic. You can also have sun-dried peppers if you do not have a dehydrator.
3. Separate the seeds and innards from the pepper.
4. Grind the remaining red chilies in the blender until they turn into a powdered form or flake forms. A food processor helps the pepper to be in a fine powdered form.
5. Place them into an airtight container or Ziploc and remove excess air. Store in a dry place until ready to use for Korean dishes.
Gochugaru substitute for kimchi?
What can I use instead of Gochujang for kimchi?
Supermarket in the Asian or International section or your local asian Grocery store will have some alternatives:
The best Gochugaru substitute for kimchi is Korean Red Pepper Paste – This paste has similar properties to gochujang but without heat. You can always adjust the heat with chili pepper or hot pepper flakes.(red pepper flake)
Other good alternatives are Thailand Chili paste or a Sriracha chili sauce.
Other Spices and Chili that can add heat to a dish
- korean chili flakes
- cayenne pepper powder
- thai pepper
- jalapeno pepper
- spicy paprika
- chipotle pepper
- chili flake
These all make nice spicy food.