The Top 8 Best Substitutes of Gochugaru
Gochugaru is hard to replace, but there are a few options if you don’t have this spice on hand! Here are the 8 best gochugaru substitutes.
Have you ever tried the famous Korean spice named Gochugaru? Are you aware of the health benefits associated with gochugaru? Do you know what the best substitutes for gochugaru are? If you are fond of spicy Korean foods, gochugaru might not be a strange name to you. If not, worry no more. Here, we will discuss everything you need to know about gochugaru.
We will let you know what gochugaru is, the health benefits associated with gochugaru, and discuss the best substitutes for gochugaru. So, continue reading this article until the end to explore all helpful information regarding gochugaru.
What is Gochugaru?
Gochugaru is a vibrant Korean spice consisting of dried chili peppers that have been deseeded. “Gochu” means chili pepper, whereas “garu” means powder; hence, the spice’s name means chili powder. This red-colored stable spice is made from a blend of hot red pepper flakes. The spice’s texture is somewhere between red pepper flakes and chili powder.
Generally, gochugaru is made from sun-dried red chili peppers (gochu); however, peppers can also be dried using machines. Machine dried peppers are common and less expensive; however, the best ingredient for gochugaru is the chilies that have been sun-dried and are named taeyangcho. Sun-drying is essential because it gives the spice its characteristic color and heat level.
If you do not have gochugaru available, you can opt for some substitutes that offer almost similar flavors. The following are the eight best substitutes for gochugaru.
1. Red Pepper Powder
Red pepper powder is similar to old Indian red chili powder. The spice level in red pepper powder is pretty high. You can add red chili powder to your favorite dishes as a substitute to gochugaru, but you should well be prepared for fantastic color and a bit of heat.
2. Chipotle Powder
Chipotle powder is made by grounding smoked dried jalapeno peppers. Hence, it serves to be the best substitute for those looking for a smoky taste.
Gochujang is somewhat similar to gochugaru; however, it has some additional ingredients, including; sticky rice, salt, and soybeans which are best to make a paste. Gochujang’s texture is comparatively different from gochugaru; however, you will surely experience the taste of Gochugaru.
When cooking with gochujang, make sure to use less salt because gochujang is already somewhat salty. Also, be mindful that adding gochujang to your favorite dishes might make them wet and sticky.
4. Cayenne Pepper Flakes
Cayenne pepper flakes are another ideal substitute for gochugaru. The texture of cayenne pepper flakes is similar to gochugaru and is frequently used in Korean dishes. Hence, you will experience a flavor almost identical to gochugaru by adding cayenne pepper flakes to your recipe.
Be aware of the fact that flakes are spicier than powder. So, choose wisely depending on your flavor requirements.
5. Guajillo Powder
Guajillo powder is popular in Mexico and is commonly used in Tex-Mex cuisine. Guajillo powder is similar to gochugaru in the sense that it’s bright and tangy with moderate heat.
One of the famous counterparts of Guajillo is Aleppo pepper. Guajillo and Aleppo pepper is considered a good match because both offer a tangy flavor and medium heat. Aleppo pepper is famous in the Mediterranean and the Middle East. The pepper powder is considered an essential ingredient in chicken, lamb, and steak.
You can recognize the differences between Guajillo and Aleppo through their colors and the aftertaste. Generally, Aleppo peppers offer vibrant color and a more pungent aftertaste compared to Guajillo.
6. Chile de Arbol
This spice is quite similar to Chipotle as it offers a spicy and smoky flavor which provides a hot kick to your recipe.
Childe de Arbol is red in color and is available in both flakes, powder, and paste. Apart from being a good substitute for gochugaru, this spice is the perfect replacement for paprika and many other spices in your recipes. Its heat ranges from moderate to a high level which is slightly hotter than gochugaru. Add it to recipes a little at a time until you are fine with the taste.
The heat value of Chile de Arbol from 15000 to 30000 SHU, making it slightly spicier than gochugaru. However, the nuttiness of the pepper makes it a good substitute for gochugaru.
7. Chile Pasilla
Chile Pasilla heat level ranges from 1000 to 4000 SHU, making it closer to gochugaru than other peppers. However, this spice is not as hot as gochugaru; hence, you might have to increase the amount in your recipes.
If you have a mild spicy taste preference, Chile pasilla is a perfect option for you because its flavor is not overwhelming.
All these peppers offer a vibrant look to your dish; however, their flavor profiles may vary slightly from gochugaru.
8. Kashmiri Pepper Powder
Kashmiri pepper powder is another excellent substitute for gochugaru. The best thing about the Kashmiri pepper spice is its deep red color; hence, it appeals to gochugaru enthusiasts.
There Are Two Types of Gochugaru
Gochugaru is known to have 2 types i.e. Maewoon gochugaru and deolmaewoon gochugaru. Maewoon gochugaru is the hottest type, while deolmaewoon gochugaru is slightly milder.
How Spicy is Gochugaru?
Gochugaru offers a complex flavor that can be described as spicy, sweet, and slightly smoky. The spice contains dried peppers due to which provides a fruitier taste with a touch of smokiness. Gochugaru heat level varies significantly and ranges from about 1500 SHU to 10 000 Scoville heat units.
If you search for the hottest kind of gochugaru, opt to go for maewoon gochugaru because deolmaewoon gochugaru is comparatively less spicy.
Buying gochugaru can be tricky because many English labels on Korean products might be misleading. Don’t buy any product labeled “red pepper powder” because this is a different ingredient used to make gochujang.
While buying gochugaru in an Asian market, make sure that you purchase the one made from sun-dried peppers. Gochugaru offers bright red color and a coarse texture. After opening a bag of gochugaru, make sure you store it in an airtight container in a freezer to maintain its freshness.
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How is Gochugaru Made?
Instead of buying it from a grocery store, consider making gochugaru from the comfort of your home. It is super easy to make gochugaru. Most Korean households make their own chili powder by sourcing quality dried Korean red chilies from the farmer’s market. After bringing red chilies at home, follow these steps to make gochugaru.
Take a pair of scissors and cut off the stems of the red chilies. Open one side of the chili and shake off the seeds.
You can also buy dried red chilies that are already trimmed and cleaned. If you have done so, move on to the next step.
Using a dry cloth, clean the chilies thoroughly.
Grind the chilies in a blender to make chili flakes or use this Multifunction Electric Smash Machine to grind it down to a fine powder.
How to Store Gochugaru?
To prevent mold growth on gochugaru, store it in an airtight container in a fridge. If you wish to store gochugaru for more extended periods, seal it in an airtight container and store it in a freezer. Later on, when it becomes hardened, you can separate it using a food processor.
What is the Difference between Gochugaru and Gochujang?
Many people assume that gochugaru and gochujang are two different names of the same thing. However, this claim is not valid. Gochugaru and Gochujang might be close neighbors, but they are different.
Both these spices differ in taste and consistency. Gochugaru is available as flakes or powder, whereas; gochujang is available in paste form.
Gochujang is a chili paste and is best for building a base in stews and marinades.
When you make comparisons regarding the taste, gochujang has soybeans, rice, and salt mixed in it, meaning that its taste will be different from gochugaru.
Surprising Health Benefits of Gochugaru
Gochugaru has many health benefits; those nutrients include:
Vitamins: Dried chili peppers, including gochugaru, are rich in vitamin E. They contain enough of this important antioxidant that a 2-teaspoon serving can provide 14 percent of your daily recommended intake. Gochugaru also has high levels of vitamin A.
Minerals: Like all dried chili peppers, gochugaru is an excellent source of iron which the body needs to make red blood cells. Gochugaru also has copper, which your body needs to make the superoxide dismutase enzyme. This enzyme is important for preventing Lou Gehrig’s disease.
Help Prevent Heart Disease: Gochugaru and other types of chili peppers are good sources of fiber known to help prevent heart diseases and blood clots. This spice supplies your blood with numerous sources of fiber. Fiber is an essential nutrient that contributes to your body’s metabolism.
Apart from providing required nourishments, fiber plays a crucial role in preventing heart diseases, blood clots, and strokes. As gochugaru is made from chili, it is rich in iron, a necessary supplement to create blood cells.
Capsaicin Kills Cancer Cells: Gochugaru is known to provide a large amount of capsaicin. Capsaicin gives the hot peppers their characteristic spiciness. In addition to that, capsaicin helps to prevent the spread of cancer cells in the body. Mainly, capsaicin helps in preventing prostate cancer growth as it causes cancer cells to start killing themselves. (source)
Can Lower the Risk of Diabetes: Gochugaru is known to contain certain nutritious substances that help maintain blood sugar levels, which lowers the risk of diabetes.
Gochugaru is a nutritious Korean spice. It presents a spicy, sweet, and slightly smoky taste. Apart from offering delicious taste, gochugaru has many health benefits, some of which have been discussed in this article.
Even if these replacements for gochugaru won’t give you the exact same taste as the original, they might still add something new to your recipe that you didn’t know it needed.
In fact, some recipes may even benefit from one of these alternatives more than they would from gochugaru, so don’t be afraid of trying out new flavors!