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Gochujang chicken stir fry

Sat, 27 January, 2024

Gochujang chicken, Korean style stir fry with vibrant colours and a great flavour. Add red and yellow peppers to enhance the colour palette of this dish.

gochujang chicken stir fry

What is gochujang?

Gochujang is a Korean chilli paste, bright red in colour, hot in flavour and tremendously versatile. You’ll probably recognise the flavour and fragrance from kimchi, if you have ever tasted the genuine article.

It is made from chilli peppers, glutinous rice, fermented soy beans, aromatics, sweeteners and salt.

The heat level of gochujang can vary depending on the amount of red chilli flakes used to make that particular brand or batch. It’s thick, sticky and very concentrated, with distinctly smoky, fruity, pungent flavour, and bags of umami.

gochujang chicken

Gochujang and gochugaru

The red chilli pepper powder which is an essential ingredient in gochujang is called gochugaru (so far, so gochu). It is a spice or seasoning in its own right and precisely what goes into kimchi.

Gochugaru is a more of a basic ingredient than a condiment. It’s made from dried Korean red chilli peppers called taeyangcho, sometimes referred to as gochu peppers. The peppers are blended or ground until the consistency is that of flakes or powder. It is fruity and obviously hot but not blindingly so.

Gochugaru is mixed with the other, mentioned above, ingredients into a paste and fermented in order to make gochujang. Hence the umami factor of the paste, thanks to fermentation. And because it is a paste, it is ready to use as a marinade or sauce. Though it gets far more delicious if slightly sweetened and diluted, like in my recipe below, than just slathered on chicken or pork.

gochujang paste

How to prepare gochujang chicken

The chicken is cut into dice, then marinated in the very basic mix of soy sauce and Shaoxing wine with a pinch of cornflour to coat and bicarbonate of soda to tenderise the chicken.

If you want to make it the tenderest, juiciest chicken ever, wash it before dunking into marinade. In a bowl of cold water mix the chicken pieces with your fingers, then squeeze them out against a side of a sieve or a colander. This treatment works a treat (hehe), also for pork or beef stir fries.

Korean style chicken stir fry

Gochujang sauce

I tried various combinations of ingredients to go with gochujang in the sauce, and below is the optimum flavour, in my view. Diluted with soy sauce and mirin wine, amped up in sweetness with maple syrup, this sauce is just spot on.

Of course the aromatics, garlic and ginger, do their bit as well. Instead of chopping them laboriously, you can grate them on a microplane grater. Or even easier – chop them roughly then pound in a pestle and mortar until coarsely crushed rather than pulverised, with a little flaky salt for extra friction.

chicken with peppers, mushrooms and gochujang sauce

Stir fry add-ons

I can never be bothered to prepare an extra vegetable dish when I cook a stir fry, so naturally I try to include my plant allocation in the wok. In this instance, my favourite combo of colourful peppers (red and yellow to match gochujang) and mushrooms, with a couple of celery ribs.

But if you want to swap these vegetables for what you prefer or have in your fridge, it’s totally fine. Up to two or three different vegetables are probably best, to keep the process manageable.

The vegetable add-ons make the cooking process slightly longer because you should cook everything in batches: the first law of wok is not to crowd it. That’s what makes prepping (in ponce-speak: mise en place) all the ingredients in bowls and gathering them at hand so important.

Each bowl is to contain the portion that will go into the wok: in this instance the chicken in one, peppers in another, mushrooms in the third and spring onions with celery in the fourth. Plus the sauce, and the aromatics. That’s a lot of bowls! But it makes the actual cooking quick and easy.

mise en place for gochujang chicken

And we’re cooking!

Once everything is chopped, prepped, and ready at hand, heat the wok until smoking, add oil and stir fry the chicken – in two batches if necessary. Scrape each batch into (another!) bowl on the side.

cooking chicken

Continue in the same way with the vegetables in batches, reheating the wok after each one. When the last portion of the veg is in, add the aromatics, the ginger and garlic.

cooking vegetables and aromatics

Then return it all into the wok and give it a good toss around. When the wok is hot again, drizzle the sauce around the sides. Toss everything together, and it’s done.

complete stir fry

Divide it between bowls alongside steamed rice or rice noodles, sprinkled with Furikake, Japanese sesame and nori seasoning which I personally am completely addicted to.

gochujang spicy chicken and vegetable stir fry

More chicken stir fry recipes

Chicken chow mein takeaway style with crispy noodles: 'chow mein' means 'fried noodles'. With stir fried chicken and a salty touch of smoked ham, it's actually much better than any takeaway.

Chicken yu xiang, chicken breast pieces cooked in Sichuan ‘fragrant fish’ sauce which has seafood only in the name. With the addition of dried cranberries for the sweetness and almonds for crunch.

Kung pao, or gong bao chicken recipe, chicken and peanut stir fry with thick and spicy sauce. Authentic taste of a good kung pao chicken takeaway made at home, with the spiciness from chilies and Sichuan peppercorns.

More Korean recipes

Korean BBQ-style oven baked meatballs with sweet and salty glaze, super easy and mega tasty. With old fashioned Ritz crackers to bulk out the beef mix!

Bulgogi, Korean grilled beef served traditionally or as a bulgogi kebab. Beef sirloin or fillet is marinated in sweet marinade, and not too spicy so kids might enjoy it too.

Basic kimchi is made with Napa cabbage, called Chinese leaf in the UK. To make kimchi, you salt the cabbage, then add spice paste made from gochugaru, Korean chilli powder, fish and soy sauce and leave to ferment for up to a week.

korean chilli paste flavoured chicken

Gochujang chicken stir fry

Servings: 4Time: 30 minutes


  • For the chicken:
  • 2 skinless chicken breast fillets
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp cornflour
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp Shaoxing wine
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • For the sauce:
  • 2 tbsp gochujang paste
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp mirin
  • 2 tsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • For the stir fry:
  • 1 large red pepper
  • 1 large yellow pepper
  • 150g (5 oz.) shiitake mushrooms
  • 2 celery ribs
  • 4 spring onions
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 15g (1 tbsp) fresh ginger
  • a large pinch of coarse salt
  • groundnut oil, for stir frying


1. Cut the chicken into small dice. Place in a bowl with the bicarbonate of soda, cornflour, soy sauce and Shaoxing wine and mix energetically with your fingers until the marinade is absorbed. Add the sesame oil and mix in. Set aside.

2. Mix all the sauce ingredients in a cup.

3. Core the peppers and slice them thinly. Slice the mushrooms, dice the celery, trim and cut the spring onions into thin strips. Place the peppers in one bowl, the mushrooms in another and the spring onions and celery in the third one.

4. Peel the garlic and ginger, chop into pieces, then pound roughly in a pestle and mortar with the coarse salt.

5. Heat the wok until smoking. Have a spare bowl handy on the side to transfer cooked batches into.

6. Swirl a tablespoon of oil in the wok until it shimmers. Add half the chicken and stir fry until no longer pink. Transfer to the spare bowl, reheat the wok, add a little more oil and repeat with the remaining chicken. Transfer it to the spare bowl.

7. Wipe and reheat the wok, add a little more oil and stir fry the peppers in two batches. Remove to the bowl with the chicken. Do the same with the mushrooms, then finally stir fry the greens, celery and spring onions.

8. Add the garlic and ginger to the greens in the wok and stir fry briefly. Return all the other vegetables and the chicken to the wok and stir fry for 30 seconds, to let the wok reheat.

9. Pour in the sauce around the sides of the wok. Stir and toss everything to coat for another 30 seconds or so, then serve immediately with plain rice or noodles.

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Hello! I'm Anna Gaze, the Cuisine Fiend. Welcome to my recipe collection.

I have lots of recipes for you to choose from: healthy or indulgent, easy or more challenging, quick or involved - but always tasty.


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