If you are a big fan of spicy Korean foods, gochugaru is probably not a strange name to you. In fact, this red korean pepper has evolved far beyond a critical ingredient for Korean dishes.
Many Western recipes have now utilized gochugaru to add that hot punch.
However, we won’t find this thing accessible to buy or just simple run out of gochugaru on your pantry in many cases.
What will you do instead of them for your best favorite dishes? I bet that you will try to find other alternatives for gochugaro, right?
Thus, this will be the list of 8 gochugaru substitute ingredients that do really work.
What is Gochugaru
Gochugaru (고추가루), with “Gochu” is the name of the chiles it is made from, is a coarse-grind chile powder.
The chilies are first dried under the sunlight, their seeds are then removed, and the chilies are ground to coarse powder.
This kind of Korean red pepper is about ~8000 Scoville heat units, so it has moderate spicy taste and a bit sweetness. That is the reason why It’s most common and important ingredients in such iconic Korean dishes as bulgogi and kimchi.
This spice has an amazing spicy flavor, but its heat is not really overpowering. It’s thus fair to say that gochugaru has a moderate spiciness.
And for this reason, there are many ingredients that can be used instead of gochugaru. The most significant ones present below.
8 Recommended Ingredients To Use As Gochugaru Substitute
1. Gochujang – Best Alternative For Gochugaru
Gochu is the keyword here. As they all come from gochu pepper, but their two difference between Gochugaru vs Gochujang are texture and flavor.
In most of the cases, you can use them interchangeably. Gochujang is in the form of a thick paste. And besides Gochu, it is the combination of fermented soybeans, sticky rice, and salt.
And if you want something saltier than gochugaru, this spice is a perfect choice. This chili paste can help you with many recipes for marinating meat, bibimbap and sauces. Especially, as a Gochugaru Substitute Gochujang is best choice while making stew (gochujang jjigae).
When using gochujang, you may want to reduce the saltiness of the original recipe. Or else, it’s advisable to use gochujang is a lighter amount in comparison with gochugaru.
Another important note for using this spice is that its texture may make your dish wet and sticky.
Thus, use it in the proper amount. For storing gochujang, you should keep it away from heat and moisture. When in the fridge, this paste can last for about year.f
Equivalents: 1/2 tsp Gochujang = 1 tsp Gochugaru
2. Paprika – Best Gochugaru Substitute For Kimchi
Paprika is popularly used in Mexico and Spain cuisine because it was made by crushing varieties of sweet red pepper flakes with a milder heat level. So, It has a mild flavor with a heat level range from 250 to 1000 SHU.
While talking about Korean foods, we can not skip the most famous dish – Kimchi. Kimchi has a middle spice level included a bit sweet.
So, when we use Paprika to make Kimchi, it will keep most of the flavor and texture of Kimchi but a bit change the color.
In Korea, it is not easy to find paprika with original taste, so they often use gochugaru substitute paprika on their dishes.
Equivalents: 1 tsp Paprika = 1 tsp Gochugaru
3. Chipotle Powder – Chili Peppers For Those Who Like Smoky
By smoking Jalapenos chilies and ripping out the moisture inside them, the Chipotle powder comes as a result. The flavor of this spice is sweet, smoky, and spicy at the same time.
When they turn to crimson red color, they are ready to be in the manufacturing for Chipotle powder.
The process of making Chipotle powder lasts for many days, but it does not come out with much quantity of the powder.
Also, the variety of brands on today’s market may offer a discrepancy in the flavor. It’s best if you can choose one that matches your cooking trial.
If finding a bottle of Chipotle powder is still hard for you, try switching to find Jalapenos chilies. They are the medium-sized peppers that create a pleasantly hot burning sensation.
However, they won’t be scorching the taste buds. Using these chilies can be a good choice considering for Gochugaru alternatives that you don’t mind the texture of the ingredient using.
Equivalents: 1 tsp Chipotle Powder = 1 tsp Gochugaru
If you run out of Chipotle Powder, try its substitution here: Chipotle Powder Substitute.
4. Cayenne Pepper Flakes – Closest To The Texture
Cayenne pepper flakes have already been popular in Korean cuisine and Asian dishes as well. So you don’t have to worry about experimenting something exotic.
The red color looks like gochugaru and texture feel alike too. Cayenne pepper is available in both flakes and powder.
The flakes are a little bit spicier than the powder, so it’s up to you to choose one that best fits your taste. But an advantage of the powder that may make it win over flakes is that it comes with no seed.
This should be under your consideration for a gochugaru substitute when preparing for your recipe.
In comparison with korean hot pepper, Cayenne pepper is spicier. Just like using red pepper powder, it’s crucial to add in just a proper amount of it.
Cayenne is also a good choice while making kimchi, it’s ideal to mix the flakes/powder into the lukewarm water before adding it in. This spice helps you to modify the spiciness if necessary.
Equivalents: 3/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper Flakes = 1 tsp Gochugaru
5. Chile De Arbol – One of Decent Alternatives
Quite similar to the Chipotle, Chile de Arbol has that smoky and spicy flavor, which gives a hot kick to your recipe.
This pepper also has a beautiful red color and available in both flakes, powder, and paste. The spice readily available in many grocery stores, and the pricing is quite affordable.
Besides being a good substitute for gochugaru, this pepper can also replace the paprika and many other spice in your recipes. The heat ranges from moderate to high level, which is a little bit hotter than gochugaru.
Thus, you may want to use it with caution, add a little by a little until you feel fine with the taste.
The Chile de Arbol ranges from 15,000 to 30,000 Scoville heat units, which makes it have a little more kick than gochugaru. But it’s the nuttiness of the pepper that makes it a good match with the original ingredients.
Equivalents: 1 tsp Chile De Arbol = 1 tsp Gochugaru
6. Aleppo Pepper Powder
Aleppo Pepper Powder (known as Halaby ) comes from Aleppo the city in Syria. It is about 10,000 SHU, most similar to gochugaru about spicy level. You can easily replace gochugaru with it in any dish that doesn’t change the spicy level.
It has a sweet and smoky flavor which is almost similar to a combination between crushed cayenne flakes and sweet paprika. So, It is widely used in recipes such as Cucumber Salad, Salad Dressing, or Risotto with Red Pepper.
You can find it in your local Middle Eastern grocery or online order it on Amazon as well.
Equivalents: 1 tsp Aleppo Pepper Powder = 1 tsp Gochugaru
7. Guajillo Powder – The Little Gourd
Guajillo means little gourd, which refers to its distinctive shape. This pepper is popular in Mexico, which commonly presents in the Tex-Mex cuisine.
All of their mole and chili recipes cannot be complete without Guajillo. What makes this pepper powder similar to gochugaru is that it’s also bright and tangy with moderate heat.
A famous counterpart of Guajillo is Aleppo pepper. These two are a good match because they both have the tangy flavor and medium heat.
Unlike its Mexico friend, Aleppo pepper is popular in the Mediterranean and the Middle East. This spice has long been an essential ingredient in chicken, steak, and lamb.
The differences between Guajillo and Aleppo are recognizable in their colors and the aftertaste. Aleppo peppers have a more vibrant color and stronger aftertaste than Guajillo.
They hit your mouth instantly and tinge your throat for one or two minutes after the taste vanishing. If you like Indian igredient, let use kashmiri chili instead of Guajillo Powder. It is fine.
Equivalents: 3 tsp Guajillo Powder = 2 tsp Gochugaru
8. Chile Pasilla – Catch Up With The Heat
The last spice in the list we want to introduce to you is Chile Pasilla. Chile Pasilla scores from 1,000 to 4,000 SHU, making it closer to gochugaru than the other peppers.
However, it’s fair to say that this particular chili is not as hot as gochugaru, you thus may want to increase the amount using in your recipe.
The flavor of Chile Pasilla is not overwhelming, making it a perfect choice for those with mild spicy taste preference.
However, a downside of using this spice is that the color is often very dark, affecting the authentic appearance of the dishes.
So if your priority is the color (without compromising too much of the flavor, of course), consider using Paprika, Chungyang Red Pepper, Fish Pepper, and Espelette.
All of these pepper can offer a vibrant looking for your dishes, but their flavor may vary a little bit from the gochugaru.
Equivalents: 1 tsp Chile Pasilla = 1 tsp Gochugaru
What Are The Health Benefits of Gochugaru?
So many people have the thought that chili has bad effects on human health, like on the stomach, and there is no advantage. But that’s not true! Gochugaru can bring so many potential benefits, this spice can provide both vitamins and minerals.
1. Providing Vitamins
First, we should talk about the benefits of Gochugaru in providing vitamins. This mixture of dried chili has a high level of Vitamin A and Vitamin E – two rich sources that help you improve your visualization and immune system.
2. Prevent heart diseases, blood clots
Moreover, Gochugaru will supply your body with numerous sources of fiber. As you have known, fiber is a critical nutrient that has contributed to the human body’s metabolism.
Besides giving required nourishments, fiber also helps you prevent heart diseases, blood clots, and strokes.
Because it’s made of chili, Gochugaru is also rich in iron, a necessary supplement to create blood cells.
3. Help For Blood Circulation.
Another mineral that Gochugaru provides for your body is copper. Do you know that copper is so important in our biological function? Without it, your body will lack enzymes, which is necessary for blood circulation.
4. Cancer prevention
Even more, the heat of Gochugaru can give your body a large amount of Capsaicin. This Capsaicin is needed to prevent the spread of cancer cells.
Above are the reasons why Gochugaru plays a principal role in supporting your body. So impressive, right?
Where To Buy Gochugaru?
Have you ever wonder that where to buy korean chili flakes or Gochugaru?
Nowadays, with the development of technology, you even bring everything with just a click. It’s true for Gochugaru. You can easily order a pack of gochugaru via online shopping platforms such as Amazon or eBay.
However, I highly recommend you to buy it at the local grocery store directly by yourself. Because it will be easy to see the appearance or even smell of this Korean chili pepper to have an initial judge to buy or not.
It will make your decision go right the first time which you have never been experienced if purchasing online.
The Bottom Line
If you come across some gochugaru, don’t hesitate to buy it in bulk to save for future use. But if there is nothing you can do about it, replacing gochugaru with the listed above ingredients will help.
It’s also a good idea to mix the peppers ingredients. Cooking trial and experiment are always fun and inspiring.