Do you want to bring spicy Korean food to your home? If so, then the important thing for you is to prepare the Korean seasoning, namely Gochugaru. This is a typical Korean condiment made from red chili (gochu). Usually, Gochugaru is dried in the sun, but some are machine-dried. There is also Gochugaru seasoning mixed with gochujang, both of which are ingredients that give the dish a spicy taste. Gochujang is a chili paste used to make pickles and the base for stews.
There are two types of Gochugaru in powder form. First; maewoon gochugaru, the taste is very strong even stronger than the other kind. Second; deolmaewoon gochugaru, the taste is a little lighter than the first one. It is a spice in Korean cuisine and is not the same as regular red chilies. So, you have to be careful if you want to buy Gochugaru in Asian stores because ground red chili is different from Gochugaru seasoning.
What if you don’t find gochugaru as a condiment for your Korean dishes. If you don’t have this Korean seasoning, you can substitute it with some of the best gochugaru substitutes. We will share with you what can replace gochugaru in your Korean cuisine. Read on for this article to the end!
Uses of Gochugaru
What is Gochugaru used for? One of the benefits and uses is as an ingredient and seasoning in making kimchi (Korean spicy food). These seasonings will make the dish perfect. Another benefit of Gochugaru is as a spice to make various types of Korean stews and one of them is Sundubu jjigae stew.
Korean chili or Gochugaru are also suitable for spicy meat dishes such as Korean BBQ Jackfruit tacos, Tempeh Steaks and Bulgogi. This spice has a hot, spicy, and smoky taste that makes your Korean cuisine perfect. For lovers of spicy food, you can try this spice in your daily cooking, who knows Korean spices are also suitable for your food who likes spicy.
Ok, before we look at what are the best substitutes for gochugaru, let’s take a quick look at the health benefits of Gochugaru in cooking.
The Gochugaru Health Benefits
If you are one of those who like to add nutritious spices to your cooking, then of course you also like gochugaru and the benefits it provides. This Korean cooking spice contains vitamin A and vitamin E. To get your daily intake of vitamin E, you only need to add two teaspoons of this spice. In addition, Gochugaru is also a good source of iron, fiber, and copper for bone health.
If you consume Gochugaru regularly, it will keep you away from dangerous diseases such as prostate cancer, diabetes, heart disease. Then, chili like Gochugaru is a spice that is quite good for dealing with your cholesterol, preventing prostate cancer cells, and controlling blood sugar levels. Ok, now let’s see what can replace Gochugaru if you don’t have one or are out of stock in the kitchen.
The Best Gochugaru Substitutes
Indeed Gochugaru is the perfect condiment for your spicy dishes. But getting it is very difficult and even rare for someone to get it because of the limited supply. But don’t worry because you can use a substitute for gochugaru.
There are several ingredients that can replace gochugaru in your cooking, so that you find a gochugaru-like aroma and taste.
1. Chipotle Powder
Presenting spicy food on the dining table will certainly be more stable than non-spicy food. When food is added with chili powder and the spicy taste is high, it always becomes fun and delicious for someone to enjoy it. It’s true that using gochugaru can increase the spicy taste tremendously, but if you don’t have this seasoning you can use a substitute, namely chipotle powder, this will give a taste that is almost the same as the gochugaru seasoning.
Chipotle powder is not real chili, it’s jalapeno peppers that have been smoked and dried. Chipotle powder will give a similar taste to gochugaru with a smoky flavor. Both are not the same level of spiciness but almost the same. Gochugaru usually has a pungency of 1,500 to 10,000 SHU, while chipotle powder is around 3,000 to 10,000 SHU.
Sometimes, chipotle powder is much more smoky than gochugaru. The taste may not be suitable for your recipe, but to balance the taste you can add some crushed red chilies, this will reduce the smokiness of the chipotle seasoning. You can easily get this spice at the grocery store or supermarket.
2. Cayenne Pepper
When looking for a seasoning substitute such as a gochugaru substitute, what you should pay attention to is the texture of the seasoning. One of the best substitutes for gochugaru is cayenne pepper, its texture and flakes make you feel not only spicy but also strong.
In many Korean dishes, cayenne pepper is also widely used. So, you still use cayenne pepper in many Korean recipes, please innovate and get the taste you want. Cayenne pepper is part of a common spice used in Korean cuisine, so when you want to make kimchi and can’t find gochugaru, you can try using cayenne pepper. To control the spicy taste, you can add pepper to the warm water before adding it to the kimchi.
Cayenne pepper not only has a taste that is almost the same as gochugaru, but also contains many minerals and vitamins such as vitamins A, E and C. It also contains flavonoids as the largest source of antioxidants that will protect cells from free radicals.
3. Chile Pasilla
Spicy food is not something that everyone likes and not everyone can tolerate spicy food. If one day you want to make Korean dishes but with a less spicy taste, you can replace gochugaru with chile pasilla. It will be lighter in taste and may be suitable for those who don’t like spicy taste like real Korean cuisine.
Chile pasilla has a dark color and it comes from Mexico. This spice is very popular for making salsa, adobo sauce, and in making tortilla soup. Granted it has 1000 to 4000 SHU which is comparable to the level of spiciness of gochugaru, but it is not as strong as Korean seasoning. So you can control how spicy you want it.
But there are things you should worry about, the color of the chile pasilla is very dark and very different from the color of gochugaru, it is feared that it can affect the color of your cooking. If you don’t want the color of your food to be different, then this is not the best choice for you. But if you only care about the taste, then the taste of chile pasilla goes well with gochugaru. Even the chile pasilla has more of a gochugaru flavor than paprika, fish pepper, or chungyang red pepper.
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Furthermore, the best substitute for gochugaru is paprika. It has a bright red color in kimchi dishes such as using gochugaru.
You can easily get peppers at the grocery store, but don’t choose the wrong one because there are various types of peppers. Paprika is made by grinding dried peppers and the result is a bright red and almost orange color. There are three types of peppers, including sweet peppers, hot peppers, and smoked peppers. So, to understand the three types of peppers, so that you can choose the right one to replace gochugaru.
When you come to the grocery store, what you can easily get is sweet peppers or basic peppers. It’s mild in taste and doesn’t suit gochugaru. While hot peppers are called Hungarian paprika and this is superior to the three types of peppers. Usually, hot peppers are used in dishes like Goulash, this is one of the Hungarian cuisines. While the third type is smoked paprika, these peppers are smoked, dried to get a sweet and smoky taste. The peppers are all powdered so you don’t have to bother with grinding them as a substitute for gochugaru.
Gochujang is one of the Korean spices too, the spicy taste can also be used as an alternative to gochugaru. It comes from gochu pepper just like gochugaru which also comes from gochu pepper. So, it tastes pretty much the same, so it’s a good substitute for gochugaru. The difference between the two may lie in the texture, as gochujang also contains ingredients such as salt, soy and sticky rice.
Using gochujang as the best substitute for gochugaru might be a little salty, so you have to balance it to get the same portion of taste. Gochujang is the best substitute when you’re making kimchi, Korean stews, and sauces. Gochujang is in the form of a paste and it is sticky in your dish, so this should be understood before you use it in your dish.
The gochujang has different levels of spiciness depending on the brand you buy. When using it in cooking, you should reduce the amount, don’t equate it with the amount of gochugaru because it is saltier, unless you prefer salty dishes to spicy. Because it looks like pasta, the best place to store it is in the refrigerator.
6. Chile De Arbol
Furthermore, there are other spices that can replace gochugaru in recipes. This is Chile De Arbol, it’s a very strong spice and it makes your dish very spicy and perfect.
Chile De Arbol has a red color like gochugaru and this will give it the same bright and smoky color. The heat level can reach 16000 to 31000 SHU. It’s very hot compared to gochugaru, so you may only want to use a little of it in your recipes.
Chile De Arbol is a gochugaru substitute and is available in a variety of forms, pastes and powders. This ingredient is easy to find because it is available in many grocery stores. Even the price is also very cheap compared to other spices.
7. Guajillo Powder
Guajillo Powder is another great substitute for gochugaru, besides being cheap it also provides a spicy taste similar to gochugaru. If you can’t find one of the substitutes above, you can try Guajillo Powder as a spice in your Korean dishes.
Guajillo Powder is a Mexican condiment commonly used in Tex-Mex cuisine. While Guajillo Powder and Gochugaru come from two different countries and cultures, they both have a similar taste and level of spiciness.
Guajillo Powder also has a bright red color like gochugaru. Available in powder and flakes, both can be used in place of gochugaru but we recommend the powdered one as it is free of seeds.
8. Aleppo Pepper Powder
Aleppo Pepper Powder is another substitute for gochugaru. This is a Middle Eastern spice so for Middle Eastern residents who want to try Korean cuisine, you can easily use Aleppo Pepper Powder instead of Gochugaru. This spice is commonly found in the Mediterranean.
Aleppo Pepper Powder is the same as guajillo and gochugaru, the red color makes your dish bright like real Korean cuisine. This Mediterranean spice also has a strong taste, so to use it you should use it gradually or little by little until you find the right taste.