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What Is Gochugaru And What Is It Used For?
What is Gochugaru?
Gochugaru is a Korean chili seasoning with a dynamic flavor that can be described as smoky, spicy, sweet, and even fruity by turns. However, before you sprinkle gochugaru on your meal or turn it into gochujang paste, know that there are two basic kinds, maewoon and deol maewoon, with the former being spicier.
How it’s Made
Gochugaru is made with taeyangcho peppers, which have a smokey, slightly fruity flavor. To make it yourself, remove the seeds from your peppers — or leave some in for more spice — dry them, and grind them into flakes. If you opt for store-bought, look for the words "taekyung,” meaning that the peppers were sun-dried.
Why Gochugaru?
With its smoky flavor, gochugaru is unique in the world of spices. It’s typically less spicy than cayenne pepper, and unlike chili powder and chili flakes, gochugaru only uses one type of pepper, giving it a distinctive flavor. While gochugaru can be swapped in for other chili spices, it’s best to use only gochugaru when called for.
Where to Buy it
If you’re looking for gochugaru, your best bet is an Asian market or specialty store, but you might find it in a grocery store under names like Korean chili flakes, Korean pepper powder, or Korean red chili powder. Once at home, gochugaru should be kept in a cool dark place or the freezer where it can last for up to 6 months.
Gochugaru is a key ingredient in Korean cooking, and dishes like kimchi must be made with it for an authentic taste. While the seasoning is a great addition for both authentic Korean dishes and fusion dishes, it goes great in meat marinades, salad dressings, or simply sprinkled over any dish you’d like to spice up.