Spicy and loaded with umami, gochujang is one of the foundations of Korean cooking, and it’s ideal for boosting dishes with punchy flavor in one stroke.
The fermented puree of soybeans, salt and chilies has an incredibly complex, pleasantly funky flavor that can transform even a store-bought rotisserie chicken into an exciting dish.
We pair the paste with several other core Korean ingredients in this recipe from our book “Cook What You Have,” which draws on pantry staples to assemble easy, weeknight meals. Ginger, scallions, and sesame oil and seeds are mixed with gochujang, a bit of sugar and rice vinegar to dress a simple but hearty cabbage and chicken salad.
Once the dressing is made, the salad comes together in a flash. Just thinly slice the cabbage and shred the chicken — a standard bird usually yields about 3 cups, the amount called for in this recipe. A grated carrot adds pops of color and mild sweetness.
If you have walnuts or extra sesame seeds, use them to garnish the salad for additional texture and nuttiness.
Start to finish: 30 minutes
Servings: 4 to 6
3 tablespoons gochujang
2 tablespoons grapeseed or other neutral oil
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil, plus more to serve
¼ cup unseasoned rice vinegar OR cider vinegar
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
1 pound green cabbage, cored and thinly sliced (about 4 cups)
3 cups shredded cooked chicken
1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced on the diagonal OR 1 large grated carrot OR both
In a large bowl, whisk together the gochujang, neutral oil, sugar, ginger, sesame oil, vinegar, ¼ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Add the cabbage, chicken and half of the scallions; toss. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
Transfer to a serving dish, drizzle with additional sesame oil and sprinkle with the remaining scallions.
Optional garnish: Toasted sesame seeds OR toasted walnuts (or pine nuts)