A quick and easy Korean side dish (banchan) made with asparagus and gochujang (Korean red chili pepper paste)
Here’s a quick and easy Korean side dish you can make with spring asparagus. Simply blanch the asparagus and dress with a sweet and vinegary gochujang (Korean red chili pepper paste) sauce, called cho-gochujang (초고추장). Cho is a short form of sikcho, which is vinegar. Dishes seasoned with a vinegary sauce is often called cho muchim, so you can call this dish “asparagus cho muchim” or simply “asparagus muchim”.
Cho-gochujang is used in various dishes. It’s also popular as a dipping sauce for vegetables and seafood such as squid and raw fish (saengseon hwe, 생선회). Everyone makes the sauce a little differently, but the key ingredients are gochujang, vinegar, and sugar (or corn syrup). Adjust the amount of vinegar and/or sugar to your taste.
Asparagus with Gochujang Sauce
- 1 pound asparagus
- 1 tablespoon salt
Sweet and sour gochujang sauce (Cho-gochujang)
- 2 tablespoons gochujang Korean red chili pepper paste
- 2 tablespoons vinegar - more if you like
- 1 tablespoon sugar - more if you like
- 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1/2 teaspoon sesame seeds