The first fermenting jar of 2019. Chillies are a mix of homegrown Madame Jeanette, homegrown Trinidad Perfume and Peach Habaneros from the South Devon Chilli Farm. Even the scraps are stunning.
Take off the stalks, half the chillies, scrape out the seeds and pith. Place in a sterilised jar. Add peeled garlic, salt and water. Screw on lid. Place a plate underneath. Shake twice a day. Wait for the bubbles.
We’ve been waiting for a rainy day to attempt this. After surprising each other with Onggi for Christmas it feels like the time is right to attempt Gochujang.
A Korean earthenware pot. They’ve been made pretty much the same way for about 5,000 years or so. If it ain’t broke then don’t fix it, right? Onggi have lots of uses including water storage, dry food storage but predominantly fermentation. Korean soy sauce is traditionally produced in Onggi. The porous nature of the iron rich clay pots adds to the ferment and encourages the ripening and breathing of the fermenting food within. The pores in the clay draw out impurities and encourage air flow. Thus keeping everything from decaying.
Our first ever batch of Gochujang will be split between a traditional Onggi and a glass Kilner jar. A bit of an old vs new, East vs West comparison. Surely the glass will allow more UV to hit the paste…but glass is certainly not porous. Hmm, how different will the products be? We’ll be reporting back in a couple of months.
Next, what is Gochujang?
It is a fermented chilli pepper paste from Korea, made to 400 year old recipe. It is a burgundy red, hot, pungent paste used to marinate meat, enrich soups & sauces and generally add all round yumminess to a lot of Korean dishes. Uber umami. Traditionally it is made in Onggi and left out in the sun to ferment, occasionally stirred. Commercially produced Gochujang is readily available in familiar red boxes in Asian supermarkets and online. Not sure it compares to the homemade stuff. Let’s find out!
How do you make Gochujang?
OK, after copious amounts of food channel watching and internet research here are the top two sources of inspiration and information we will be using: