Gochujang Adds The Spicy Punch Your Grilled Cheese Needs

Grilled cheese with ham and gochujang
Grilled cheese with ham and gochujang - Static Media / Shutterstock

Have you ever had a grilled cheese sandwich and wished it packed a spicy punch? You're not alone. Luckily, there's a secret ingredient that can elevate your next grilled cheese, and it might already be in your pantry: gochujang. Gochujang is a fermented Korean hot pepper paste or condiment. You usually find gochujang in a plastic container shelved at room temperature, and this spicy paste made from hot chiles is typically vegan,  but we do suggest you check the label to see if it's gluten-free. While usually made with glutinous rice, gochujang made with barley malt is not gluten-free.

Gochujang is a wonderful staple to have in your pantry. This spicy condiment is complex yet balanced, blending heat, sweetness, and umami. Its use extends to various Korean and Asian dishes, from bibimbaps and tofu stews to marinades and barbecue. You can also find gochujang as an ingredient in desserts such as butter mochi, cookies, and spicy chocolate cakes. So, why not incorporate gochujang into a grilled cheese?

When added to a grilled cheese, you'll turn a simple and comforting dish into a total gourmet experience. When using gochujang, however, less is more; its intense heat means a little goes a long way. A light smear (about a teaspoon or less) inside your grilled cheese sandwich can elevate the taste without overpowering the other flavors or making you sweat.

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The Best Cheese And Fillings For Your Next Gochujang Grilled Cheese

kimchi grilled cheese sandwiches
kimchi grilled cheese sandwiches - Lauripatterson/Getty Images

Ready to spice up your next grilled cheese sandwich with gochujang? First, let's talk about what type of cheese to use. Honestly, any cheese that melts smoothly and has a creamy texture would do. That includes Monterey Jack, a mild cheese that melts beautifully, or a classic cheddar for a sharper taste. With its nutty profile, Gruyere can work as well, and we wouldn't leave out Gouda, Brie, or even a stretchy mozzarella.

To add more creaminess to the grilled cheese, we suggest diluting or mixing the gochujang with another ingredient, like crème fraîche, mayo, sour cream, softened butter, or cream cheese. This results in a spicy orange paste that you can spread over the bread slices. Then, generously add your chosen cheese (or cheeses, why not?). Feel free to experiment with fillings to add to your grilled cheese, like grilled chicken, ham, kimchi, or slices of tofu. Just go with what you're craving.

Grill the sandwich the same as you would make your standard grilled cheese, ensuring the exterior is crispy while the inside is gooey and melty. Combining these spicy, sweet, and creamy elements with your cheese of choice culminates in a gourmet grilled cheese experience. Your tastebuds will thank us, and you'll probably reach for a cold glass of milk or beer.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.