Gochugaru Substitute — Best Alternatives to Get that Heat

Spices from the word itself truly spiced up the kitchen. There are a variety of spices in the world but perhaps, one of the most highly revered is none other than gochugaru.

This spice is characterized as a bunch of pepper flakes in the red hue which originated from Korea but is much loved all over the world.

The best thing about gochugaru is that it adds a certain twist to dishes with its distinct blend of flavor which includes sweet, a little smoky and of course, spicy.

However, in some cases, gochugaru can be a bit hard to find. But don't worry because in this article, I’ve rounded up manny gochugaru substitutes. Read on and find out your best choice!

What is Gochugaru?

To find out and analyze what works well as a substitute for gochugaru, let us first settle what a gochugaru is. Gochugaru is basically a chile powder with a coarse texture. Often, you will see people using this in some iconic Korean dishes such as kimchi.

What makes gochugaru really amazing is that it adds a special edge to an otherwise boring dish. It does this without being too overwhelming.

Different Ingredients that would Make a Good Gochugaru Substitute

1. Gochujang

When looking for the best alternative for gochugaru, your best bet would be gochujang, without an ounce of doubt. From their names itself, both condiments come from the gochu pepper, which makes them sort of siblings.

The most obvious difference in terms of appearance is most probably the texture but in fact, people actually alternate to use between these two. Gochujang is characterized as some sorts of thick paste. Another difference you may also notice is that gochujang is slightly saltier than gochugaru.

For this reason, use them in moderation unless you are really opting for a slightly saltier dish. In addition, it may also make your dish turn a little sticky. Lastly, when using gochugaru, remember to keep it away from moisture or too much heat.

2. Chipotle Powder

If you’re type of person who really likes the smoky flavor of gochugaru, then chipotle would be very ideal for you. To create a chipotle powder, one must get the moisture from the inside of Jalapenos chilies.

In return, its flavor greatly resembles the smoky but spicy flavor of gochugaru. However, one of the common downsides of chipotle powder is that it can be slightly difficult to find for some and in addition, the powder may also sometimes come in less quantity.

3. Chile de Arbol

This gochugaru substitute also deeply resembles cayenne pepper. They both possess the characteristics of having an acidic heat and that smoky taste. Chile de Arbol is actually pepper like tree in English. This is because Chile de Arbol leaves a unique grassy aftertaste when being consumed.

But don't be fooled by this plant-based flavor because with Chile de Arbol, your tastebuds will be on fire. It really spices up any dishes.

4. Cayenne Pepper Flakes or Powder

Much like Gochugaru, cayenne pepper flakes is also one of the hypes in Korea now. It has been widely used in a variety of Korea dishes. What makes cayenne pepper and gochugaru similar apart from the flavor is their texture.

In addition to all these, please also note that you may opt to get either cayenne pepper in flakes or in powder. Between the two, the powder variety is going to be less spicy than the flakes variety. However, what is good about powder is that there are no longer seeds that come with it.

5. Red Pepper

This gochugaru substitute is perhaps the easiest and most convenient alternative for gochugaru. It is almost always available in stores and markets. If you’re a bit confused, red pepper is sometimes called as Indian Kashmiri.

For best results and convenience, always go with the powder version. They have an ability to turn your dish into that compelling crimson hue of red. Between this alternative and paprika, red pepper powder offers more spice.

6. Chile Pasilla

Via themijachronicles.com

Next, we have Chile Pasilla which is probably the closest to gochugaru in terms of spiciness. However, it is also essential to take note that gochugaru is still spicier. Thus, this Chile Pasilla is very ideal for those who have a mid tolerance for spicy food.

So if you are looking to get turned up, you may want to opt to increase the quantity that you will be using. However, one of the not so positive things about this is that Chile Pasilla comes in a very dark hue which can usually affect the presentation and aesthetic of the food.

7. Guajillo Powder or Aleppo Pepper

Via woodlandfoods.com

These both are two different things, with Guajillo originating from Mexico and often being used for iconic Tex-Mex dishes. On the other hand, Aleppo Pepper is the Mediterranean counterpart of Guajillo Powder.

So what makes these two similar to each other and similar to gochugaru, as well? Both alternatives can only offer moderate heat and spice. They also deeply resemble the taste of cumin with hints of tanginess especially with that salty vinegar undertones.

The only thing that makes them not so similar to each other is that Guajillo Powder has less compelling hue. In terms of aftertaste, Aleppo Pepper’s effect on the tastebuds is more immediate.

Final Thoughts

To sum it all up, there are several spices in the world which can perfectly encapsulate what gochugaru is. In this article, you can refer to seven best alternatives and this include gochujang which is probably the best bet since they come from the same plant.

In terms of similarity with texture, it is the best to go with cayenne pepper powder. If you are mostly after the smokey taste, go with Chipotle Powder. For spiciness, it is ideal to go with Chile Pasilla.

Lastly, if you are looking for more convenient alternatives, your best bet is a bottle of red pepper powder which more often than not is available in local stores.

Hope that you can find lots of information from this post. If you find it helpful, feel free to share it to your friends and don't be hesitate to leave comment below to share with us your experience.

Emily Mathews
 

Hi, I am Emily Mathews. I grew up in a small town in Tennessee, where I learned how to cook fabulous local dishes from my Mother. I have 3 children and they enable me to cook from my heart every day. I am also passionately interested in creating globally inspired food with locally grown ingredients.

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