Bright, red, Korean chilli flakes is the best way to describe 'Gochugaru', a staple ingredient in Korean cuisine. Nothing ordinary about it - There is a unique sweetness and smokiness to the chili taste so it isn't all just red hot spicy!. In our first experiments, we sprinkled it on vegan eggs and it tasted awesome. We tried some on our hummus sandwiches and it worked quite well too.
This Joanne Lee Molinaro recipe involves using Gochugaru on cucumbers - Yay! I have tailored it a bit but I have mostly stayed true to her recipe!
4-5 Persian cucumbers
2 tablespoons coarse Sea Salt (I personally like Swedish Falksalt Naturell from IKEA)
2 tablespoons Gochugaru flakes
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
Cut cucumbers into thin slices or pieces. Add salt and set aside for 15 minutes. Adding the salt will release water from the cucumbers and eventually, you would want to drain all that liquid out of the cucumbers for the dish.
Pat those cucumbers dry. Now, add gochugaru, sugar and rice vinegar, and ensure the cucumbers are well coated. Serve at room temperature.
Joanne's recipe is about creating 'kimchi', which would mean pickling the cucumbers at room temperate for 2-3 days before enjoying them, but in our case, this dish was consumed immediately because it was so tasty - Try it sometime!
As I have been asked before - Can you substitute Gochugaru with Gochujang? Yes, but only if you are looking for simply Korean flavors - The taste is definitely different. Gochujang is certainly saltier and more complex. So, if I were you and looking for authenticity, I would not use them interchangeably.
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You will see a few affiliate Amazon links in this post. These are the products I bought to make this dish or bought and used in the past. Know that if you go through them and make a purchase, I will earn a commission.