Gochujang Powder Is My Secret to Life-Changing Fried Chicken

If you love gochujang, you need this ingredient on your spice rack.

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June 05, 2019
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Get the Recipe: Classic Fried Chicken

Photo by: Yunhee Kim ©2011

Yunhee Kim, 2011

Get the Recipe: Classic Fried Chicken

One day while working in the Food Network test kitchen, I went to our pantry to look for some smoked paprika and I saw a container labeled Gochujang Powder next to the garlic powder and powdered ginger. You can find the paste in major grocery chains across America, but I had never seen the powdered version. I looked at the ingredients to find that it's a dry spice blend of the traditional Korean gochujang paste. Feeling intrigued, I packed a little in a container to bring home to experiment.

My first instinct was to try it out on some fried chicken, but putting a big pot of oil on felt like too much work for a weeknight. Instead, I added a helping to some mayo with a squeeze of lemon juice, and made myself a turkey sandwich. It. Was. Awesome. (I may have also dipped a few potato chips in the spicy mayo, too — for research purposes, of course.) It was only a matter of time before I began to add the powder to simple roast veggies, home fries, marinades and, finally, that fried chicken. I was in love.

Google gochujang, and you will find more than 3 million search results. This Korean fermented chili paste has gained popularity over the past few years, which is only continuing to grow. More and more chefs are using it to add a layer of “funk” to their dishes that you can’t get from other hot sauces.

Traditionally made with gochujaru chilies, fermented soybeans (this is where the funk comes in), salt and malted barley or rice, this paste has been part of Korean cuisine for hundreds of years. Now that it's finally made its way stateside, chefs in the U.S. (including those of us in the Food Network test kitchen) are adding it to their dishes to bring an unsuspecting layer of heat and depth.

Thanks to gochujang powder, adding some spice and funk to dishes is even easier. For one thing, the powdered version is shelf stable, so you don’t have to worry about using up a new ingredient quickly, which gives you time to experiment. (I'm still thinking about how the powder will liven up future dry rubs and ranch dressing.) And if you are in need of the paste, but this is all you’ve got, just add some water and viola! Paste in seconds.

What are you waiting for? Your new favorite fried chicken won't make itself.

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