Gochugaru, Korean Hot Pepper Flakes 고춧가루
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Although Korean cuisine offers a host of great non-spicy dishes, it is famous for its fiery spiciness. But what is the secret to the spice? The spicy taste of many Korean foods largely comes down to one key ingredient: gochugaru (red chili flakes or red pepper powder). Gochugaru is made by drying Korean red chili peppers in the sun, de-seeding them and crushing them into flakes.
Interestingly, red chili pepper was adopted by Koreans not too long ago (late 16th century), totally shifting the paradigm of Korean cuisine from that time forth. Today, gochugaru (Korean Hot Pepper Flakes or Korean Red Chili Flakes) is one of most essential ingredients in Korean cooking. It simply cannot be replaced with chili flakes or sauces from other places when it comes to cooking authentic Korean food. Korean hot pepper flakes are usually a vibrant red, coarse in texture and fairly spicy in taste, with a hint of sweetness. How they rate on the spiciness meter can vary depending on the region of origin and its specific farming conditions.
There are two types of gochugaru that Koreans use: fine powder and flakes. Flakes is generally used in many recipes. Fine powder is used to make gochujang, kimchi, tteokbokki, jjampong, yukgaejang and other muchim or stew dishes for better color and smooth texture. For kimchi, Koreans mix fine powder and flakes to balance color, texture and taste. Some high end restaurants in Korea use fine powder only so customers do not have gochugaru stuck in their teeth.
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Sourcing & Selecting
Local Korean grocery market
Are you making your own kimchi? Organic gochugaru is a must-buy ingredient.
You can buy 100% Korean Produced, USDA Certified Organic Kosher Gochugaru, Red Hot Chili Pepper Flakes online here.
Check the expiry date
In general, good gochugaru has rich red color and smooth texture. The color however may vary depending on the species and the dryness.
Many health-conscious Koreans source their red chili peppers directly from a farm they know personally, or purchase them from a reputable company that uses 100% Korean red chili peppers.
Amount %Daily Value
Calories 325 Kcal
Carbohydrate 63g 19%
Protein 12g 20%
Fat 2.8g 6%
Saturated Fat 0.9g 6%
Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 12.8mg 0%
Vitamin C 185.4mg 185%