The Secret Ingredient You Should Have in Your Pantry (but Don’t)

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Oh, hello, giant plate of spaghetti Bolognese. What’s that hint of sweet spiciness we taste? Is it red pepper? Is it cinnamon? Is it cumin?

Nope, nope and nope. It’s a traditional Korean ingredient called gochujang (pronounced go-chu-jang), and it’s your new secret weapon.

Made from red chile paste, sticky rice and fermented soybeans, gochujang is a veritable flavor bomb. It’s hot, sweet, pungent and savory all at once. It’s the same consistency and concentration as miso paste and similarly versatile.

Stir it into jarred tomato sauce, soups, marinades or even ketchup to make a fancy dipping sauce for French fries. Thin it with olive oil and toss your veggies in the mixture before roasting them. Mix it into your deviled eggs, scrambled eggs or sheet pan eggs. Use it to instantly elevate store-bought hummus. Starting to get the picture? It’s the perfect magical ingredient when you need to add that little extra something-something.

The great news: Gochujang is easy to find in the supermarket. Just head over to the international aisle and scout out a big red tub. It’s inexpensive, and it’ll last for about three months in the refrigerator. (If you don’t use it up by then.)

21 Food Staples You Should Always Have In Your Pantry

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Food Editor

From 2017 to 2019 Heath Goldman held the role of Food Editor covering food, booze and some recipe development, too. Tough job, eh?