Tag Archives: Gochujang

Shoyu Chicken with Gochujang (Chicken Simmered in Soy Sauce and Gochujang)

shoyu_goch_chickIf you ask me what I have been eating most often for the last three years, Shoyu Chicken would certainly be among the top ten. The frequency with which I prepare it is not only due to its irresistible taste and texture, but also – and maybe most of all – to its extremely low difficulty. Actually, I cannot recall any other equally effortless warm dish. Even though, after dozens of times, the original recipe is still my favourite in my house, I have obviously twisted it more than once. This gochujang (Korean chilli paste) version has also become a staple and is always welcome whenever the chilli addict in me requires an urgent dose of spicy food.

This recipe is based on the original Shoyu Chicken, a Hawaiian recipe found on a wonderful, inspiring blog Humble Bean, which is unfortunately no longer continued. “Shoyu” means “soy sauce “in Japanese and even though this dish comes from Hawaii it does have a Japanese influence of course. Since the first time I prepared it I have cut down on the soy sauce amounts (and always use the low-sodium version), but otherwise I still prepare it the same way and never get tired of it.

If you cannot find gochujang or don’t feel like having a spicy meal, try this mild version:

Shoyu Chicken

Shoyu Chicken

TIPS: If you like soft chicken skin, leave the skin on, but for me the result was much too fatty, so I did it only once and have always skinned the legs since then (it’s really very easy and takes maximum five minutes for two legs).

Try to use chicken pieces with bones, which add lots of flavour.

I strongly advise using low-sodium soy sauce. You will have less salt in the final dish, but more of the wonderful soy sauce taste.

Do not skip the vinegar. The dish will not be sour, but the vinegar adds a certain je-ne-sais-quoi you will like. (You can use any vinegar you have, unless it’s something like raspberry vinegar, etc. of course).

It’s obviously delicious served with kimchi.

Preparation: about 1 hour – 1h30

Ingredients (serves 2 – 4 people depending on the size of the legs):

2 chicken legs (cut into two pieces) with or without skin

100 ml (about 3 fl oz) low-sodium Japanese soy sauce (or 70 ml of “normal” soy sauce)

300 ml (about 10 fl oz) water

60 ml (about 2 fl oz) agave syrup or honey

2 tablespoons rice vinegar (or any other vinegar)

2 heaped tablespoons gochujang (Korean chilli paste)

2 big garlic cloves chopped or sliced

toasted sesame seeds

(1-2 tablespoons sesame oil)

Bring all the sauce ingredients to a boil (apart from the sesame seeds and oil).

Lower the heat, put the chicken into the sauce, cover (add more water if needed) and let it simmer for at least one hour until the meat falls apart from the bones.

Finish cooking it uncovered until the sauce thickens.

Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and with sesame oil.

Serve with rice (and kimchi, if you have it).





Stir Fried Korean Noodles (Dangmyeon) with Marinated Minced Beef

kornoodlesbeefpAs you might have noticed, I have been quite lazy in the kitchen during last weeks. Due to my recent frequent trips, I don’t find motivation to cook complicated dishes, not to mention trying new recipes. Last weekend however I felt an urgent need for cooking adventures and decided to prepare my very first bibimbap, the famous Korean beef and vegetable rice dish. I wanted to go shopping, but looking through my fridge I saw that, miraculously, I had almost all the ingredients. I started to marinate the minced beef, I prepared the vegetables, assembled the sauces and suddenly realised… I ran out of rice! If you are Asian or, like me, an Asian food addict, you can imagine the horror, since the shop selling good quality rice is far and there was no way I could get there before the closing time. This happened for the first time in my life (of course I count only the years since I have fallen in love with Japanese short grain rice), so after the first moment of panic, I started to look for a solution and came up with this simple, but absolutely delicious, Korean-inspired dish.

The vegetables depend on your preferences (maybe apart from the carrot which in my opinion goes perfectly with Korean flavours), the crucial elements being the sauce, the marinated beef and, last but not least, the Korean sweet potato noodles, called dangmyeon (당면). Light brown, or rather greyish, they don’t look very attractive when dry, but they are my definite favourite transparent noodles. Contrary to all the glass noodles I know, they actually do have their own delicious taste, though they absorb easily flavours from the sauces and spices. I love them especially for their slightly chewy texture other noodles lack. I find them excellent with Chinese dark soy sauce and here they were perfect with strongly flavoured marinated beef. In short, the initial catastrophe ended up in an invention that is already on my staples list. If you cook Korean from time to time, you will probably have all the seasoning and sauce ingredients in your kitchen at any time.

The beef marinade, the sauce (substantially modified) and the remaining ingredients (everything slightly changed) are inspired by a bibimpab recipe found in the excellent The Food and Cooking of Korea by Young Jin Song.

If you don’t like beef, but feel like experimenting with these Korean noodles, I have posted here a similar stir-fried dish with chicken.

Preparation: 20 minutes (+ beef marinating time: 30 minutes at least)

Ingredients (serves two):

2 portions of Korean sweet potato starch noodles (I take usually about 80 g for two, but it depends on your appetite)

1 courgette, julienned

1 big carrot julienned

6-7 fresh shiitake mushrooms (or dried ones; soaked until soft), sliced (without stems)

1 onion, sliced (it can be the white part of the spring onion)

(a handful of soybean or mung sprouts)

200 – 250 g minced beef

Beef marinade:

2 tablespoons dark soy sauce (I have used Chinese dark soy sauce)

2 small garlic cloves, crushed or grated

1 tablespoon chopped spring onion green part

1 tablespoon sesame oil

1 tablespoon rice wine (I have used, as always, sake)

salt and pepper


1 tablespoon gochujang (Korean chilli paste)

1 teaspoon (or more) Korean chilli powder

1 tablespoon agave syrup (or honey or another syrup)

2 teaspoons sesame oil

1 tablespoon sake

1 tablespoon soy sauce (light)

Combine the marinade ingredients with the minced beef. Cover and let marinate for 30 minutes (you can leave it for several hours or even overnight, but refrigerated).

Combine the sauce ingredients.

Soak the noodles in boiling water for about 20 minutes before you start stir-frying.

Heat one tablespoon oil in a wok.

Stir fry the beef until crunchy.
Add the onion and the shiitake and stir fry until the onion becomes soft.

Add the carrot and stir fry for about one minute.

At the end add the courgette (and the sprouts if you use them), the noodles and the sauce.

Stir fry until the sauce thickens.

Serve sprinkled with green onion and toasted sesame seeds.

Roasted Chickpeas with Gochujang

chickpeasnackpSeasoned toasted chickpeas are probably not new for many of you. They have been tempting me on many blogs for quite a long time. Whatever the seasoning, toasted chickpeas always seemed delicious, easy and very light compared to most snacks I know. Somehow I kept on forgetting to give them a try until I saw the gochujang version at cHow Divine. As an avowed gochujang (Korean chilli paste) addict, I was so enchanted by the idea of sweet and hot chickpeas served as snacks, I simply wasn’t able to take them off my mind. After a dozen of batches I am still equally enthusiastic about them and absolutely wanted to share this scrumptious discovery with you. If the combination of sweet and hot flavours makes your taste buds dance, this is definitely your kind of snack! Thank you so much, Gomo, for one more exceptional recipe!

I have slightly increased the gochujang amounts, but otherwise I haven’t modified this recipe. I discovered a long time ago that, just like me, Gomo uses regularly agave syrup, so I even didn’t need to change this item (you can use any syrup or honey of your choice instead). Even though my recipe is practically the same, I strongly encourage you to visit Gomo’s blog and discover  beautifully photographed, inspiring recipes (such as Cold Vegetable Bibimbap I am now addicted to) that will make you fall in love with Korean cuisine.

TIP: Everything seems ridiculously simple here, but drying the chickpeas might prove a slight problem if you are in a hurry. If you don’t dry them thoroughly, they will still be delicious, but will stay slightly soft. It you bake them for too long, they will simply burn and become so tough, you might break your teeth on them. After a quick search I have found a bery useful tip on The Kitchn website: using a salad spinner is a great way to drain chickpeas (do not spin them too violently since they are delicate and may fall into pieces!).

Preparation: about 50 minutes


1 x 400 g (about 14 oz) can of chickpeas or about 300 g (about 11 oz) cooked chickpeas

1 teaspoon oil (canola, peanut or another type of oil intended for high temperatures)

1 heaped teaspoon gochujang (Korean chilli paste)

1 teaspoon agave syrup (you can substitute with honey or syrup of your choice)

about 1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 190°C (about 375°F).

Wash and drain the chickpeas, using a salad spinner, if you have one.

Pat them dry with paper towels and make sure they are thoroughly dry.

Put the agave syrup, the oil and gochujang into a big bowl and mix well.

Combine with the chickpeas, making sure they are well covered with the seasonings.

Place the chickpeas on baking paper. Do not overcrowd them!

Bake about 25 – 30 minutes until they are slightly tough outside but still soft inside.

When they start browning it means they are already burnt, so watch them closely.

Sprinkle with salt while they are still warm.
Serve cold.

Chicken Legs in Doenjang (Korean Soybean Paste) and Gochujang

misogochchickenpIt was a total improvisation and I still cannot believe it gave such a marvellous result. Even though I have just come back from a short trip to Rome, which was a marvellous culinary experience, the dinner I dreamt of was fiery and Asian (yes, I am addicted…). I was tired by a long car trip, so anything complicated was out of question. I found two chicken legs in the fridge, I took out a jar of gochujang (Korean chilli paste), a tub of doenjang ( Korean soybean paste), one onion and some leftover stock I had in the freezer. Simmered for two hours in this mixture of ingredients, the chicken legs became fork tender, while the mixture of stock, soybean paste and gochujang has thickened turning into a sticky hot sauce. These few products created an amazing aroma, a complex taste and proved an extraordinary warming treat I will certainly make regularly this winter. I strongly recommend it to all the hot food lovers.

TIPS: If you don’t have the Korean soybean paste (doenjang), you can substitute it with the Japanese miso, which is a bit different. First of all Korean soybean paste has a stronger taste, so if you have only miso, use preferably a darker version. Japanese miso loses its nutritional values while simmered for a long time, while doenjang apparently doesn’t, so it is perfect for such a dish.

Taste the dish when it’s almost ready (the sauce is thick) and add more soybean paste if it’s not salty enough, or more gochujang, if it’s not hot enough.

I have served it with fresh chopped shiso and its strong taste was perfect here, but I am sure it would be also good with chives or spring onions.

Preparation: about 2 1/2 hours

Ingredients (serves two):

2 chicken legs (I have skinned and halved them but you can of course use whole legs with skin)

1 liter stock or water (use any stock, European or Asian, vegetarian or meat)

4 flat tablespoons Korean soybean paste or miso, preferably dark: red or black; or more

4 flat tablespoons gochujang (or more)

1 onion

1 tablespoon oil

(chopped shiso)

Slice the onion.

Heat the oil in a pan.

Fry the onion at medium heat until it softens.

Add the stock or water, the soybean paste, gochujang and stir well.

Add the chicken legs.

Cover the pan and make it simmer at low heat for one hour.

Take off the cover, increase the heat and simmer the dish for at least one more hour.

Taste when it’s almost ready and add more doenjang or gochujang if needed.

It’s ready when the sauce thickens and the meat falls off the bones when touched with a fork.

Serving it with chopped fresh shiso was a good idea, but you can choose any herb of your choice.


Cold Vegetarian Bibimbap (Korean Rice Salad)

bibimbap2pMost of you have probably heard about the famous Bibimbap, but I bet Cold Bibimbap is much less popular. When I saw it first time on cHow Divine blog, the idea was so seducing, I made it in the following two hours and loved it, in spite of some forced modifications. When I finally prepared it with all the required products, it tasted even better and now I am an avowed addict of Cold Bibimbap.

In spite of its exotic name, this dish contains ingredients easily available all year and in most countries in the world (apart from gochujang; see the TIPS below). It is perfect not only as a hot day, soothing meal, but also an excellent way to deal with leftover rice. For me it’s most of all a very original alternative to one-meal rice salads I have been preparing for long years, but in a rather European way, i.e. with mayonnaise or vinaigrette dressing. Thank you so much, Gomo, for one more extraordinary Korean discovery.

I have slightly modified the amounts, scaling down the recipe and also replaced salt with soy sauce. Gomo indicates walnuts, sesame seeds, spring onions and dates as optional toppings. For me the three first have become obligatory, but I haven’t used dates yet (I must admit I’m not very fond of them). Click here to see Gomo’s original recipe, as well as lots of other fascinating and tempting Korean dishes.

TIPS: You will be surprised to see that all the ingredients are easily available in most countries, though, like in most fiery Korean dishes I know, the presence of gochujang (Korean hot and sweet chilli paste) is crucial. I strongly encourage you to buy it if you intend to cook Korean cuisine, even rarely. Gochujang is sold on internet, keeps for ages in the fridge and you can play with it in Western dishes too. It cannot be substituted by any other chili paste, so if you cannot get it, I advise using more syrup and adding some powdered chilli. The result will not be the same of course, but it’s still better than using Chinese or Thai chilli paste for example.

The gochujang amount given below depends on how hot you like your dishes to be and also on the gochujang’s hotness level (mine was medium hot; grade 3).

Do not skip the walnuts! They are here not only for the additional crunchy texture, but they significantly enrich the bibimbap’s flavours with their slight bitterness.

Preparation: 10 minutes

Ingredients (serves two):

300 g (about 1 1/2 cup) cooked short grain white rice

half of a 400 g/14 oz can of red beans

1 avocado

1 small carrot, grated

two handfuls of sliced crunchy lettuce (or other crunchy salad leaves)

1/2 long cucumber


1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

3-4 tablespoons chopped walnuts

3-4 tablespoons chopped green onions or chives

(dried dates)


1 teaspoon rice vinegar

1 teaspoon syrup of your choice or honey (I have used agave syrup)

1 heaped tablespoon gochujang (or less/more, see the TIPS above)

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1 tablespoon soy sauce

Cut the cucumber in half, lenghtwise.

(You can remove the seeds if you wish; I didn’t).

Slice the halves, sprinkle with salt and let it soften for about 10-15 minutes.

Rinse them,  drain and pat dry.

If you kept your rice in the fridge, reheat it in a microwave (covered) until it’s slightly warm (not hot!). Thus, it will be easier to separate the grains.

Cut the avocado into cubes.

Drain the beans.

In a big bowl mix all the dressing ingredients, adjust the taste if needed, and combine with the rice, the avocado, the cucumber slices, the grated carrot, the lettuce and the beans.

Serve sprinkled with walnuts, sesame seeds, green onions or chives (if you like dried dates, you might try them too).