The Korean condiment your cupboards need need need

If you walk into an Asian supermarket, you'll have probably walked straight past gochujang without even a second glance.

For the uninitiated, they can appear to be intimidating places. If they're worth their salt, there's a good chance you'll be caught off-guard by the non-Western brands, the curious products packed with an alchemy of ingredients you may not have ordinarily put together.

Expect to find an emporium of products dominated by Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Thai, Vietnamese languages, as well as handful or so more.

With a wealth of riches in each jar, bottle & container, maybe the best thing to do is dive in at the deep end: pick something up, put it in your basket, buy it, Google wtf to do with it and learn of the many ways it can improve your day-to-day.

Not everybody is willing to be that impulsive, however. Another good place to start then is with gochujang.

Sat on the shelf in a deep red plastic tub, it's a Korean chilli paste consisting of fermented soybeans, chilli powder, glutinous rice and salt.

If you, like me, joined the Korean cuisine hype in 2018/19, there's a good chance you've got your chops around it before as it's an essential component of kimchi, AKA the mother of all fermented recipes.

Notable for its viscosity and stickiness, it confers a tangy depth of flavour on stews, casseroles and sauces that an ordinary srirarcha-style chilli sauce simply cannot. It's not nearly as spicy, too.

A couple of spoonfuls of this ruby elixir and, good Lord, you are on to a winner.

food & writing