Gochujang is a savory, sweet, and spicy fermented condiment made from gochutgaru (red chili powder), glutinous rice, mejutgaru (fermented soybean powder), yeotgireum (barley malt powder), and salt. The sweetness comes from the starch of cooked glutinous rice, cultured with saccharifying enzymes during the fermentation process. Traditionally, it has been naturally fermented over years in jangdok (earthenware) on an elevated stone platform.
Gochujang's primary ingredients are red chili powder, glutinous rice powder, sugar or corn syrup, powdered fermented soybeans, and salt.
Other recipes user glutinous rice, normal short-grain rice, or barley, and, less frequently, whole wheat kernels, jujubes, pumpkin, and sweet potato; these ingredients are used to make special variations. The finished product is a dark, reddish paste with a rich, piquant flavor.
Gochujang is used in various dishes like bibimbap and tteokbokki, also in salads, stews, soups and marinated meat dishes. Gochujang makes dishes spicier (contributed by the capsaicins from the chili), but also somewhat sweeter.