Gochu: The Quintessential Korean Pepper
Growing Gochu seeds is an easy way to bring a popular Korean to your own backyard. It is known for its moderate heat and versatility in various culinary applications. A staple in Korean cuisine, it is often found in dishes like kimchi and Korean barbecue. The pepper is a Capsicum annuum variety, similar to the Jalapeño and Cayenne. With over 300 pepper varieties, this is one of the most requested peppers from Cincinnati area locals seeking fresh pods. As much as I love sharing fresh fruit with neighbors – why go out of your way trying to find a highly popular yet hard-to-find pepper when you can grow it yourself?
Heat Level and Flavor
The heat level of the Gochu pepper can vary, but it generally falls in the low heat range, around 1500 SHU, the extreme low end of a jalapeno. This makes it accessible for a wide range of palates. Taste profile-wise, it is a harmonious blend of sweet, spicy, and smoky flavors. This distinct combination makes it a popular choice in Korean cuisine, especially as flakes to flavor traditional dishes like kimchi. While sun-drying is the traditional method used to create these flavorful flakes, using a dehydrator can also suffice, making it convenient for modern cooks to incorporate this versatile pepper into their culinary creations.
Other Culinary Uses
Gochu peppers can be used fresh, dried, or ground into a flakes/powder to add extra heat to dishes. Typically the most popular use is as flakes. Aside from kimchi, the peppers can be sauteed and pickled. Whether you’re making a spicy stew or a flavorful marinade, the Gochu pepper is an excellent choice.
Like most Capsicum annuum varieties, the Gochu pepper prefers a warm, sunny environment and well-drained soil. It’s a relatively easy pepper to grow and highly productive, making it a good choice for both novice and experienced gardeners.