One of our periodic stories about international markets and restaurants in Union Square, Somerville.

This pepper paste could change your life — or perhaps it already has? For neophytes, gochujang is a Korean fermented chile paste made from red chile peppers, glutinous rice, fermented soybeans, and salt. It’s a versatile and extremely flavorful ingredient that we recommend always having on hand. Though you may be able to find gochujang in the international isle at Whole Foods, there are many more varieties for much more reasonable prices at Reliable Market in Union Square, starting at $5. Different brands of gochujang might have slight variations in flavor and spice level, so try out a couple to see what you prefer. The folks at Reliable Market recommend starting out with the Chung Jung One brand of gochujang made with brown rice.

If you’re new to gochujang, fear not, we’ve got three great recipes for you to try (see below). Once you’ve used it a few times, you’ll likely become a gochujang addict and start using it in many ways, not even following recipes. Perhaps you’ll take your dipping sauces to a new level by adding a swirl, or elevate your BBQ game before throwing it chicken and veggies before grilling.  Let us know how you use gochujang in the comments section!

—Gabi Mendick


Three recipes to try

1: Brussel Sprouts with Gochujang Glaze

Simple roasted brussels sprouts with gochujang glaze. Gabi, our fearless foodie intern swears by this recipe, and reports it works well with almost any roasted vegetable!


2: Bibimbap

For a more traditional use of gochujang try out this recipe from “My Korean Kitchen” for Bibimbap. This is another great way to spice up whatever vegetables you have in your fridge.


3: Korean Style Meatballs


The gochujang glaze on these Korean style meatballs contains apricot jam that adds a really nice sweetness alongside the spicy and sour fermented gochujang. We recently wowed guests at a dinner party with this one.