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The Secret Ingredient You Should Have In Your Pantry (But Don’t)

PureWow logo PureWow 3 days ago editor@purewow.com (PureWow)
© Lilechka75/Getty Images

Oh, hello, giant plate of spaghetti Bolognese. What’s that hint of sweet spiciness we taste? Is it red pepper? Is it cinnamon? Is it cumin?

Nope, nope, and nope. It’s a traditional Korean ingredient called gochujang (pronounced go-chu-jung), and it’s your new secret weapon.

Made from red chile paste, sticky rice and fermented soybeans, gochujang is a veritable flavor bomb. It’s hot, sweet, pungent and savory all at once. It’s the same consistency and concentration as miso paste and similarly versatile.

GALLERY: 12 Chefs Reveal the One Ingredient You Should Always Have in Your Kitchen

Bacon Fat: <p>“After frying up bacon at home, I always save the bacon fat in a jar and keep it by the stove as an essential addition to other dishes. It enhances foods like beans and greens—anywhere you want a rich smoky flavor. Grease a pan for eggs with a little bacon fat instead of butter. You’ll never turn back.”</p><p>-Austin Kirzner, Executive Chef, <a href="http://www.redfishgrill.com/">Red Fish Grill</a> in New Orleans, LA</p> 12 Chefs Reveal the One Ingredient You Should Always Have in Your Kitchen

Stir it into jarred tomato sauce, soups, marinades, or even ketchup to make a fancy dipping sauce for French fries. Thin it with olive oil and toss your veggies in the mixture before roasting them. Mix it into your deviled eggs, scrambled eggs or sheet pan eggs. Use it to instantly elevate store-bought hummus. Starting to get the picture? It’s the perfect magical ingredient when you need to add that little extra something-something.

The great news: gochujang is easy to find in the supermarket. Just head over to the international aisle and scout out a big red tub. It’s inexpensive, and it’ll last for about three months in the refrigerator. (If you don’t use it up by then.)

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