But what if you can't find Gochugaru or can't use it for some reason? Don't worry. You can still enjoy delicious Korean food with these seven fantastic Korean chili powder substitutes.
Before we explore the substitutes, let's see what you should look for in an alternative.
Here are some factors to consider:
- Heat Level
Gochugaru is also coarse. It affects the texture of your dish. You may not find an exact match but try to find a similar one.
Substitute 1: Aleppo Pepper Powder
You can use Aleppo pepper powder instead. It comes from a Syrian chili pepper. It has a smoky and sweet flavor like Gochugaru but is slightly spicier. It has 10,000 SHU of heat. It also has a similar texture. This makes it a great substitute.
Use half as much Aleppo pepper powder as Korean chili powder in your recipe. For example, use one tablespoon of Aleppo pepper powder if your recipe needs two tablespoons of Gochugaru. You can add more if you want more spice.
Substitute 2: Ancho Chili Powder
But Ancho chili powder is finer than Gochugaru. So your dish may have a different texture. If you want to try Ancho chili powder as a substitute, use the same amount first. Then adjust it to your taste.
Substitute 3: Paprika
You can use paprika instead in many dishes. Paprika comes from dried and ground bell peppers or sweet chili peppers. It has a sweet and slightly smoky flavor. But it is milder, with a 500 to 1,500 SHU heat level.
Substitute 4: Cayenne Pepper
If you want a spicier substitute, try cayenne pepper. It comes from dried and ground cayenne chili peppers. It has a similar red color and slightly smoky flavor but is hotter. It has a heat level of 30,000 to 50,000 SHU.
Use less cayenne pepper than Gochugaru in your recipe. For example, use a quarter or half a tablespoon of cayenne pepper for every two tablespoons of Gochugaru. You can always add more if you like it spicier.
Substitute 5: Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
You can use crushed red pepper flakes instead as well. They come from dried and crushed red chili peppers. They are hotter but have a similar look and feel.
Use half of what the recipe says for Gochugaru and see how it tastes. You can add more if you like it spicy.
Substitute 6: Guajillo Chili Powder
A good alternative is Guajillo chili powder. It comes from dried and ground guajillo chili peppers. They have a fruity and slightly smoky flavor. They also have a similar heat level of 2,500 to 5,000 SHU.
However, Guajillo chili powder has a fine texture. This may change the texture of your dish. If you want to use Guajillo chili powder instead, start with the same amount and adjust it to your taste.
Substitute 7: Thai Chili Powder
If you want a spicier replacement, try Thai chili powder. It comes from dried and ground Thai bird's eye chilies. They have a heat level of 50,000 to 100,000 SHU. That's much hotter than Korean chili powder. But they also have a similar red color and slightly smoky flavor.
You don't need much Thai chili powder for replacement. Use a small amount and taste as you go. Use a quarter or half a tablespoon of Thai chili powder for two tablespoons of Gochugaru. Then add more if you like it spicier.
Tips for Using Gochugaru Substitutes in Recipes
To make your Korean dishes delicious, use these tips when substituting with another spice:
- Add less than the recipe says. Then taste and adjust.
- Mix a milder substitute with a bit of a hotter one. This will boost the spiciness.
Gochugaru gives Korean dishes their distinctive flavor and texture. But what if you don't have it? You can still make delicious Korean food with these substitutes. They have similar heat, texture, and flavor. Try them and see how they spice up your recipes. You won't miss the authentic taste of Korean cuisine.