Difference Between Gochujang And Miso

Gochujang and miso are two popular condiments in Asian cuisine. They are soy-based condiments that are used widely to add flavor and color to the traditional recipes. 

They are staples in their respective cuisines, and they are used in soups, stews and as marinades.

These condiments are often in the form of a thick reddish paste which could be thinned out by adding water  

So, what’s the difference between these condiments? Despite being used similarly, these condiments are made from different ingredients, and they also have different flavors.

Continue reading to learn more about the difference between these two condiments. 

Gochujang vs. miso

Both gochujang and miso are fermented condiments.

Miso paste is made from steamed soybeans, salt, and koji while Gochujang is made from red chili paste glutinous rice, fermented soybeans and salt. 

Gochujang contains chili peppers which gives it a spicier flavor compared to miso. It may also contain sweeteners and is sweeter than miso.

What is gochujang?

A condiment in Korean cuisine  

It can be found easily in Korean or Asian markets where it is packaged in plastic containers. 

Gochujang is a dark, reddish paste. This hot pepper paste is also thick and sticky,  

The ingredient may vary slightly amongst different brands, but they essentially include red chili paste, glutinous rice, fermented soybeans and salt

Sweeteners like sugar and honey are sometimes added to make this condiment

The heat level of this condiment also depends on the brand 

Traditionally, gochujang is naturally fermented over years in an earthenware pot kept outdoors 

During the time it ferments, the starches in the glutinous rice are converted to sugars. The sugars are responsible for the sweetness of this condiment 

Gochujang is versatile. It can be used as a marinade for meats, it can be added to soups and stews.

This condiment is used to add flavor in dishes such as Korean bulgogi, and to make other condiments such as kimchi.

What is miso?

Miso is a traditional seasoning and a staple in Japanese cuisine.

This fermented soybean paste is used widely in Asian cuisine 

The thick paste is primarily made from soybeans.

Miso is made by fermenting cooked soybeans with salt and Koji. The fermentation could be up to months or even years.

Koji is made from grains such as rice, barley or wheat which are combined with the mold Aspergillus oryzae.

The koji acts like a starter culture and is added to cooked soybeans, water, and water. The mixture is then allowed to ferment for many months 

The soybeans are usually ground into a paste. Dried miso is also available.

Miso can be used to make soups, as a spread, in salad dressings, and in marinades. Miso can also be used in the production of soy sauce.

This condiment is high in sodium and should be used in moderation.

Types of miso

There are hundreds of miso varieties  

Miso can be classified based on grain type, color and taste.

Regional variations as well as seasonal variations of miso also exist.

Factors such as the temperature, salt content, duration of fermentation, variety of Koji, can influence the type of miso that is produced  

Common varieties of miso are white miso and red miso.

White miso is also known as light miso. It is yellowish in color has a shorter fermentation time and also a milder flavor.

Red miso is brown to reddish in color, it has a longer fermentation time and a stronger flavor.

Can gochujang be used in place of miso?

Although both condiments are used similarly, gochujang cannot be used as a direct substitute for miso because it is spicy. 

However, in Korean cuisine, there is another condiment that can suitable be used as a substitute for miso. 

This condiment is known as doenjang and it is often referred to as Korean miso.

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