If someone asks what the most authentic Korean condiments are, they are definitely ‘Gochujang(고추장, fermented hot chilly paste)’ and ‘Deonjang(된장, fermented soybean paste)’. There is a saying that the real taste of Korean foods comes from ‘taste of Jang(장맛)’. Every household had a different taste of its own Jang in the past and it was common to make two kinds of Jang once a year. However, these days many people just purchase ready-made Gochujang and Deonjang.
My mom began to make her own Jang after her mother, my grandmother, passed away and has made them almost every year for more than 25 years. Of course my grandmother taught my mom how to make Gochujang and Deonjang. My mom recalls that she willingly gave Deonjang to her relatives or neighbors, but she did not like to give Gochujang to anyone because it took so long a time and required much effort to make it.
I always wanted to record how to make Jang which is a quintessential ingredient for Korean foods and I start with Gochujang.
– glutinous rice powder(찹쌀가루) 1kg -> picture #1
– fermented soybean powder(메주가루) 1kg -> picture #2
– malted barley powder(엿기름가루) 2kg -> picture #3
– dried red pepper powder(고추가루) 2kg -> picture #4
– rice syrup(물엿) 3kg, salt 300g, water 11 liters
[Step 1: Dissolving and sifting 1]
– Add 2kg of malted barley powder(엿기름가루) in 11 liters of water and leave it overnight (for 5-6 hours).
– Sift the malted barley and squeeze.(The picture in the middle is the sifted malt.)
– Add and dissolve 1kg of glutinous rice powder(찹쌀가루) in the malted water for a while.
[Step 2: Dissolving and sifting 2]
– Heat it until the glutinous rice powder(찹쌀가루) dissolves for about 30 minutes.
– Sift it again.
[Step 3: Boiling and Adding rice syrup]
– Heat it again for about 1 and a half hours until it begins to boil.
– Add 3kg of rice syrup(물엿) and heat it for one hour.
*** Keep stirring it while heating!!!
[Step 4: Mixing]
– Cool it for a while.
– Add 2kg of dried red pepper powder(고추가루) and mix well.
– Add 1kg of fermented soybean powder(메주가루) and mix well until 2 kinds of powder dissolve completely.
– Add about 300g of coarse salt. Adjust the amount taking a taste. Gochujang should be spicy, salty and a little sweet.
*** We usually make Gochujang in spring or fall. Spring-Gochujang should be saltier than fall-Gochujang because the former is fermented in hot summer.
Put Gochujang in a pottery(항아리). Isn’t the color so beautiful?
Cover Gochujang with a few sheets of dried seaweed(김).
Gochujang in the pottery will be fermented for a few months and we will be able to taste it from next spring.
After I helped my mom to make Gochujang from the beginning to the end, now I understand why my grandmother was stingy about it. My arms are now aching after stirring for hours, but I’m so glad to have learnt how to make Gochujang at last.