Lately I’ve been adding lots of recipes to my new Korean barbecue and sides section of the blog because, well, I love to make these dishes and can’t get enough of them!
Koreans love all kinds of pickled vegetables and it’s common to serve a healthy variety with meals. These pickles may be a little different to what you think of as pickles, but they are nonetheless delicious and exploding with flavor!
You will still get that vinegar tang, but the use of soy sauce and sugars (though the sugar can be discarded in many cases) brings in a sweet umami character that for me is what makes these some of my favorite pickles there are.
Gochu jangajji is also different in that its pickled hot peppers, which you might not normally associate with snacking on the way you would with cucumber pickles. However, green Korean peppers are pretty mild and you can of course choose whatever pepper variety works for you.
Using this recipe on similarly long & mild peppers, such as Anaheims or Poblanos, will yield great results. Sometimes I use a pepper at my local international grocer simply labeled “long green hot pepper,” which is very similar to Korean peppers, though they can range from mild to a fair bit hotter. And you could of course choose a more aggressive pepper such as jalapenos or Fresnos if that’s what suits you.
Below are a couple variations on this pickle. The first is a base recipe used for pickling the peppers in a simple but very flavorful brine.
The second recipe takes these above mentioned pickled peppers and brings in another dimension of insane flavor by marinating them in a sweet chili paste after they’ve undergone the first pickling stage. It will take your otherwise pretty mild pickled peppers and make them hotter but also sweeter, which you might find both bearable and highly addictive!
So let’s do this!
Yield: 1/2 gallon jar (1 lb. of chilies)
Shelf life: Indefinite but peppers will begin to soften after a couple months
You will need:
- Knife & cutting board
- Measuring cups
- 1/2 gallon mason jar
- Medium saucepan and wooden spoon
- Suggested: ferment weight
- Suggested: pickling funnel
For pickled + marinated peppers you will also need:
- Small mixing bowl and spoon
- Measuring spoons
- Garlic press
- Large mixing bowl
- 6-cup Snapware container (or similar container to store peppers)
Ingredients for pickled peppers:
- 1 lb. long green Korean peppers (or sub with 1 lb. similar mild/medium green pepper such as Anaheim, Fushimi, Cubanelle, etc.)
- 2.75 cups filtered or distilled water
- 1.25 cups rice vinegar (or white vinegar)
- 1 cup soy sauce (Korean preferred)
- 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
- 3 TBSP pickling salt
- 2-3 cloves garlic, quartered
- Garnish with sesame seeds when serving
- Optional: 2 jalapenos, 1/4″ slices
- Optional: a few slices of fresh ginger
Directions for Pickling:
1.) Rinse the peppers. Cut a slit in each pepper in the middle area to allow the brine to seep in quickly. Prep the other veggies used according to the above.
2.) Place each pepper upright in the jar. You may have to firmly push some peppers aside to fit the last remaining peppers. It is okay if any of the peppers get cracks. Top off with the garlic (and optional jalapeno and ginger slices).
3.) Combine the water, rice vinegar. brown sugar, and salt in the saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. As soon as a boil is achieved, remove from heat and add the soy sauce. Apply the (recommended) pickling funnel to the jar. Give a good stir to the brine and pour the brine over the peppers. There may be excess brine.
4.) As needed, apply the ferment weight to the top of the peppers to keep them submerged under the brine. Seal the jar tightly and allow to come to room temperature. Then transfer it to cold storage and wait at least one week until sampling. Two weeks is even better.
Optional: Directions for Marinating After Pickling is Complete
This is an absolutely delicious next step you can take with some or all of your pickled peppers. You will make a sweet and savory paste and coat the pickled peppers in it to marinate. Besides being an incredible snack or side, the peppers are amazing cut into bite sized pieces and being used as a topping for BiBimBap. Seriously, take a look at this pic and tell me you don’t want that!
- 1/3 cup gochugaru (Korean red chili flakes)
- 5 garlic cloves, run through a press or finely minced
- 2 TBSP soy sauce
- 2 TBSP rice syrup
- 1 TBSP sunflower oil (or avocado oil or other neutral vegetable oil)
- 1.5 tsp toasted sesame oil
- Garnish with 1 TBSP toasted sesame seeds
1.) Combine the paste ingredients in the small mixing bowl and mix thoroughly.
2.) Remove the pickled peppers from the jar and transfer to the large mixing bowl. (You will no longer need the pickling brine, but it can be used for other purposes, like stirring in a couple Tablespoons over rice.) Add the seasoned paste and rub into the peppers thoroughly.
3.) Transfer the peppers to the Snapware storage or other container and allow to marinate for a week in the refrigerator. At this point, the peppers will be ready to use for snacking, serving as banchan (small side dish to accompany meals), cutting up for BiBimbap, and more! Keep stored in the fridge.