Gochujang (hot pepper paste) is a unique mix of hot, sweet, salty, savory, and sour tastes. It has been only 200 years since hot peppers have become widely used throughout Korea. However, gochujang has become one of Korea's most common and popular fermented foods in this short period of time. Gochujang is more than a mere seasoning, it has a unique hot taste that no other seasoning can imitate. This hot taste improves appetite and leaves a refreshing taste at the end which creates a psychological effect that fits perfectly with the common habitude of Koreans.
It is believed that gochujang (hot pepper paste) was first used in Korea the late 1700s. According to the 'Jung-bo-sal-lim-kyung-jae' (1765), gochujang was made by adding powdered red peppers and glutinous rice powder to soy bean paste, and aging this paste under the sun. This recipe is similar to the recipe used today to make gochujang.
Functions and Benefits of Gochujang
Hot pepper paste boasts of a long history and tradition. Its effects are as outstanding as any traditional foods of other countries. It has been scientifically proven that it has as many nutrients as soybean sauce and soybean paste. It contains protein, fat, vitamin B2, vitamin C, carotene and many other nutrients that are good to health. Hot pepper paste contains less protein than other soybean-processed foods, but it still is a protein source. It is a fermented and preserved food, and used for seasoning and flavoring. In particular, Hot pepper paste stimulates digesting thanks to amylase and protease gained from fermented soybean powder.
Limes extracted from hot pepper powder hinder aflatoxin B from causing mutations. Hot pepper powder makes the stomach strong and helps blood circulation by stimulating the skin. However, vitamins in hot peppers are lost in the process of making Hot pepper paste, so adding hot pepper powder is recommended when hot pepper paste is used in cooking.
Micro-organisms such as pediococcus, halopgillus, lactobacillus and delbruekii purify the intestines. According to studies, capsaicin, the substance that produces hot taste in hot peppers, calms down the stomach when it is taken in an appropriate amount. It induces perspiration to expedite excretion of waste material from the body. Capsaicin is also good at preventing and healing diseases, including cold.
A recent study reported that Hot pepper paste is good at preventing obesity. According to this study, capsaicin helps reduce accumulated fat. The study also found that fermented soybean powder or substances produced while the paste is matured burn out fat. A diet using hot pepper powder is very popular in Japan these days.
Indeed, Hot pepper paste contains protein, fat, vitamin B2, vitamin C, and many other nutrients that are good to health.
This is the component that give gochujang (hot pepper paste) its hot taste. 0.001~ 0.002 % of gochujang is made of this component. In appropriate amounts, capsaicin can keep the body warm, sterilize digestive organs, and improve ones appetite. It also enhances the decomposition of fat and prevents obesity in the process. This is the reason why gochujang has recently become popular among young Japanese women.