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Gochugaru is a coarse chili powder made from deseeded dried chili peppers and has a hot, spicy flavor with a sweet edge. It is considered an indispensable ingredient in Korean dishes like gojuchang (a spicy chili paste) and kimchi (a strong-flavored fermented vegetable dish), soups, and stews.
Some numerous spices and flakes can be used as substitutes for gochugaru. Red chili pepper flakes, Aleppo pepper, and Chipotle powder won’t have the same spicy and sweet flavor blend, but they will give food a similar hot, spicy taste.
Best Substitute for Gochugaru
The best gochugaru substitute is red chili pepper flakes. Red chili pepper flakes are made from crushed dried chili peppers. The intensity of the flavor varies, depending on the strength of the chili peppers.
Red chili pepper flakes have a similar hot and spicy flavor to gochugaru and give your dish an exciting kick. You can use red chili pepper flakes as a gochugaru substitute in most Korean recipes.
If the flakes have been made from extremely hot chili peppers, you can use red chili pepper flakes as a 1:1 gochugaru substitute. However, if the chili peppers are mild, you will need to use more than the recipe suggests to achieve the same hot taste.
You can buy bottled red chili pepper flakes from a store, or you can make them yourself. The only ingredient you’ll need is red chili peppers. Follow these easy steps to make homemade red chili pepper flakes.
- Wash and dry the chili peppers.
- Arrange the chili peppers on a baking sheet and spread them out so that the peppers don’t touch each other.
- Place the chili peppers in the oven on the lowest heat setting.
- If your oven has a thermo-fan, use this setting. If not, leave the oven door open a crack to allow air to circulate.
- Leave in the oven overnight or until completely dry and brittle.
- Remove the chili peppers from the oven and leave them to cool completely.
- Once cold, place the dried peppers in a sealed Ziploc bag and crush them with your hands.
- 8Store the flakes in a sealed glass jar.
Other Gochugaru Substitutes
If you cannot find gochugaru, there are other ingredients that you can use in place of gochugaru.
Aleppo peppers originate from Turkey and Syria. They can be dried and ground into flakes that have a hot and spicy flavor, but they are much milder than gochugaru.
Aleppo peppers are popular in Mediterranean cooking and can also be used in Korean cuisine as a substitute for gochugaru. In kimchi and other spicy dishes, use twice the amount of Aleppo pepper flakes as you would gochugaru to make up for the mild heat from the Aleppo peppers.
Cayenne Pepper Flakes
Cayenne pepper is a popular ingredient in many types of cuisine. It can be used as a dried powder, or as flakes made from dried cayenne peppers. Cayenne pepper flakes work well as a gochugaru substitute because they have a similar texture and flavor to gochugaru.
Cayenne pepper flakes are spicier than gochugaru, so you should use half the recommended amount when substituting cayenne pepper flakes for gochugaru in Korean recipes.
Chipotle peppers are smoked and dried jalapeno peppers that have a similar hot, sweet flavor to gochugaru.
Chipotle powder is made from chipotle peppers. It is readily available in stores and can be used as a 1:1 gochugaru substitute in Korean soups, stews, and kimchi.
Indian Chili Powder
Indian chili powder is a blend of the best traditional Indian chili spices. You can find it in most Indian stores. Indian chili powder has a similar hot and spicy flavor to gochugaru, but it is sweeter than gochugaru.
Use Indian chili powder as an alternative to gochugaru in Korean dishes that require a hint of sweetness. Kimchi and bibimbap, a Korean rice dish, will be perfect if you use one part Indian chili powder in place of one part gochugaru in the recipe.
Chile de Arbol Powder
Chile de árbol powder is made from dried chile de árbol pods. Because this powder is made from the entire pepper, including the dried seeds, chile de árbol is fiery hot and popular in Mexican salsa dishes.
Chile de árbol powder makes a great substitute for gochugaru, because it has a similar hot, spicy flavor. Chile de árbol doesn’t have the same smoky undertones as gochugaru, but can be used as a 1:1 replacement in Korean dishes that rely on the heat of the spice, like Korean stew.
Gochujang is a thick paste made from the same Korean peppers used to make gochugaru, so it has a similar hot and spicy flavor. Gochujang can be used as a gochugaru substitute in dishes where the texture of the paste won’t affect the outcome.
Gochujang works well as an alternative to gochugaru in Korean stews and soups, but gochujang is saltier than gochugaru, so you should reduce the amount of salt in the recipe to make up for this. There are also other substitutes for gochujang that you could use.
Jalapeno peppers are a common ingredient in Mexican cuisine and have a hot and spicy flavor that is similar to gochugaru.
To achieve a hot and spicy taste, you can add finely chopped fresh jalapeno peppers to soups and stews as a substitute for gochugaru. One tablespoon of diced jalapeño peppers is the equivalent of half a teaspoon of gochugaru.
Green jalapeno peppers will give your dish similar to gochugaru, but they won’t give it the same red color.
Kashmiri powder is made from dried Kashmiri peppers, which come from the Kashmir area of India.
In most Korean recipes, Kashmiri peppers are milder than gochugaru in flavor and heat, but you can use Kashmiri powder as a gochugaru substitute. You will need to use between 1.5 and 2 times the usual amount of Kashmiri powder to achieve a similar flavor and heat as gochugaru.
Asian Chili Sauce
There are numerous varieties of Asian chili sauce available, all with a similar hot and spicy flavor. Some Asian chili sauces are chunkier than others. Chunky varieties of Asian chili sauce don’t make good substitutes for gochugaru because they affect the overall texture of the food.
Even though the texture of Asian chili sauce is entirely different from the texture of gochugaru, you can use Asian chili sauce as a gochugaru substitute in most Korean recipes. Look for a smooth sauce rather than a chunky variety of Asian chili sauce to add to soups and stews in place of gochugaru.
Dried poblano peppers are called Ancho chilis. The poblano pepper is a mild, sweet pepper that originates from Mexico and is popular in Mexican cuisine.
Ancho chilis work as a substitute for gochugaru in Korean dishes like soups and stews that do not rely on heat for flavor. When you use Ancho chilis in place of gochugaru, you should add some extra spice to the recipe to give the dish more heat.
Paprika is a ground spice made from dried red peppers. There are numerous varieties of paprika, some sweet and some hot, all of which have the same red color as gochugaru.
You can use paprika as a replacement for gochugaru in most Korean dishes, but you should look for a hot variety to get as close to the original taste as possible. Use two teaspoons of paprika in place of one teaspoon of gochugaru.