Temper The Spice Of Gochujang With Brown Sugar For A Tasty Salmon Glaze

If you've never tried gochujang on your salmon, you're missing out. While the typical lemon-butter-garlic sauce combo makes for a delicious piece of fish, gochujang will give your dinner a much more potent blast of flavor. It's a Korean chili paste full of sticky rice, fermented soybeans, and salt, along with the main spicy ingredient. When brushed onto your salmon filet, it gives your piece of fish a boost of heat, salt, and deep umami flavors. It may also have a little sweetness, which typically comes from the fermented soybeans instead of an additional sugary ingredient.

But while different brands will give you slightly varying flavor notes, there's no doubt about it — gochujang is spicy. So if you want all those potent tastes in your salmon but can't stand more than a little heat, add some brown sugar into the mix. Not only will a dose of the sweet ingredient balance out all the savory flavors in your sauce, but it will help it caramelize as your salmon cooks.

Other ways to subdue the spice in gochujang

While adding brown sugar to your gochujang-packed salmon glaze can help temper the spiciness, it's not the only option you have. Before you even delve into additional ingredients, take a look at the brand and variety of Korean chili paste you're buying. Chung Jung One's Sunchang Extreme Spicy Hot Pepper Paste, for instance, tends to be much hotter than Wholly Gochujang's Artisanal Korean Hot Pepper Paste (as you can probably tell from the names of the two products). If your goal is to reduce spice, choose a gochujang more like the latter.

Once you've selected your product, sweeteners you can use besides brown sugar include coconut sugar, honey, agave, or maple syrup — and they're all easy to mix into your sauce. If you are okay with a little creaminess on your salmon, you can also make a gochujang sauce with mayo, sour cream, or Greek yogurt instead of a glaze, as the dairy ingredients are the perfect counter to all that spice.

You can brush a glaze on your fish before tossing it in the air fryer or oven. If you're making a creamy sauce, however, you'll likely want to keep it on the side during baking or air frying to dip your salmon in afterward. Either way, just one or two additional ingredients will help balance out the spiciness in gochujang so you can enjoy all those complex flavors without overwhelming your tongue.