Gochugaru, or Korean chili flakes, is a versatile ingredient widely used in Korean cuisine. It has a spicy and mildly sweet flavor to any dish.
Gochugaru (고추가루) is sun-dried Korean chili pepper flakes/powder. It is a quintessential pantry item for Korean cooking, used for making gochujang, kimchi, and jjigae. The spice level of these hot pepper flakes varies from mild to hot.
Other names include Korean chili powder, Korean chili flakes, and red pepper flakes.
Table of contents
What Is Gochugaru
Gochugaru is one of the most important condiments in Korean cuisine. The Korean red chili pepper flakes are used to season classic Korean dishes, such as sundubu jjigae (spicy soft tofu stew), bulgogi (grilled beef and vegetables), bibimbap (mixed rice), banchan (small side dishes), and an ingredient in sauces, marinades, and soups.
What Does It Taste
It’s mildly spicy, with a slightly sweet and smoky flavor.
You can find two varieties: flakes and powder.
- Powder: Fine and smooth texture, brighter color for soup and side dishes.
- Flakes: Coarse and versatile. Great for kimchi, side dishes, soups, and stews.
Recipes Using Gochugaru
- Kimchi Gyoza Nabe (Hot Pot) キムチ餃子鍋
- Kimchi Jjigae (Kimchi Stew)
- Korean Pancake (Pajeon) 파전
- Quick Korean Fresh Kimchi 即席キムチ
Where To Buy
You can find it at Asian and Korean grocery stores or online.
How To Choose The Best
Maangchi, the author of Maangchi’s Real Korean Cooking: Authentic Dishes for the Home Cook, recommends the ones made with sun-dried peppers, labeled as 태양초 on the package.
How To Store
Store unopened packages in a dry place and keep open packages in the freezer or refrigerator to maintain freshness.
Depending on the dish, you can substitute with gochujang (which lists gochugaru as one of the ingredients), other chili powders, such as ichimi togarashi, paprika, chipotle powder, Aleppo pepper, or crushed red pepper (crush the flakes in a food processor to a fine powder if necessary).