If you are on or thinking about taking up the keto diet, then be prepared to make some serious changes and sacrifices to your diet. In a keto diet, you can have absolutely no or very little carbs a day. So, being picky about what you eat is essential. Now, if you are a fan of the famous Korean dish gochujang, then I’m sure you’d like to know whether or not is gochujang keto friendly?
Sadly, gochujang made with the traditional recipe or bought from stores is not keto-friendly. If you look at the ingredients listed, you will find that it is made with loads of corn syrup, brown rice, brown rice flour, and others. Obviously, this is not for keto dieters.
You might be disappointed to find that many delicious dishes made with this paste are not keto-friendly. But don’t worry as you can still make a homemade keto-friendly version of gochujang with ease. I will include that later on in the article. I will also discuss how many carbs gochujang paste contains and how healthy it is.
What Makes Gochujang Bad for a Keto Diet?
If you have tasted Korean cuisine before, you have most likely gotten a taste of gochujang. It is a spicy and thick fermented red pepper paste and an essential condiment of Korean food. While it may be rich in protein, vitamins, antioxidants, and overall a very healthy superfood, it is not for those maintaining a keto diet.
When you are on a ketogenic diet, you are supposed to eat fat-rich foods while rejecting as much carbohydrate as you can. According to this diet, you are supposed to reduce your regular carbohydrate intake to less than 50 grams. You can lower it down to as much as 20 grams a day.
Traditional gochujang contains a lot of glutinous rice and sugar. Other ingredients may include brown rice, corn syrup, MSG, etc. Needless to say, these contain a lot of carbs and are far from being keto-friendly.
So, when you are making a dish with just a few spoons of gochujang, it can contain a lot of carbs. That automatically translates to being bad for those on a low-carb or keto diet. But, you can make a keto-friendly version of gochujang which we will talk about later in this article.
How Many Carbs Are There in Gochujang?
With Each spoon of gochujang paste, you will consume 6.0 grams of carbs. It also contains 1 gram of fiber.
Now, if you are looking for net carb content, subtract 1 gram and you will get net carb content of 5 grams. A spoon of gochujang also contains 3.5 g of fat, 1g of protein, and 60 calories.
It is an essential ingredient for many Korean foods out there. Be it bibimbap, kimbap, stews, Korean barbeque, or whatever popular Korean dish you know of, all of them are made with a few spoonfuls of this magical paste.
It is extremely healthy and contains many vitamins, antioxidants, protein, and many other nutrients. But it is also high in carbs and can disrupt your keto diet.
How to Make Keto-Friendly Gochujang?
It’s not easy to turn down our cravings for some delicious, warm Korean food. But the traditional and commercial gochujang found in stores can contain a lot of carbs. It’s a total no-no for those on a low carb or keto diet. So why not just make some keto-friendly gochujang at home? It is not hard at all. I have a recipe that you can follow.
This homemade gochujang is sugar-free, low-carb, and gluten-free. The best part is that the whole recipe contains only a net carb of 20g in total. So if the recipe ends up making about 200 ml of the paste, you will only be consuming 1.5 grams of carbs with a spoonful. It tastes amazing as well and sounds a whole lot better for your keto diet.
Now, let’s take a look at how you can easily make this keto-friendly gochujang at home-
- 1/2 cup of gochugaru or Korean Pepper Powder
- 1/3 cup of doenjang paste or fermented Korean soybean paste
- 1 cup of filtered water
- 3 tablespoons of Erythritol (as substitute for sugar)
- 2 tablespoons of sake or rice wine or soju (whichever you have at hand)
- Sea salt or Kosher salt
- Fish sauce
- Rice flour (additional ingredient for thickening)
- Measuring cups
- Mason Jars or airtight containers
- Glass mixing bowls
- Measuring spoons
- Whisk or spatula
Steps to Make Homemade Keto-Friendly Gochujang
- Take a big glass mixing bowl. Add water, soybean paste, fish sauce, and erythritol. Pour them in as you measure them carefully.
- Use a spatula or whisk to mix them well.
- Add gochugaru or Korean pepper powder to the mixture. Keep mixing it until there are no lumps and it becomes a smooth red paste.
- Add sea salt according to your taste. Make sure to mix it in well.
- At this point, you need to check the thickness of your gochujang. Feel free to add more water and rice flour to bring the paste to your desired texture.
- To finish up making the paste, add in some rice wine.
- Give it a final mix and your gochujang will be ready for a taste test. You can add more salt if you want.
- Get your clean Mason jar or airtight container. Pour in the gochujang and store it in the fridge.
A few Useful Notes
- If you can’t find any Korean pepper powder, cayenne or other chili powder of your choice works fine.
- If you want to make the gochujang soy-free, you can use miso instead of fermented soybean paste. Soy-based miso has fewer carbs.
- If you want more flavors, let the gochujang mature in the fridge for about 2-3 days.
- If you can’t handle spice too much, make sure to control the spice level when you are making the gochujang paste.
- To make the paste vegan, you can replace fish sauce with soy sauce.
Is Gochujang Healthy?
Gochujang may not be the best for those looking to cut down on carbs. But it is one of the healthiest superfoods that comes from Korea. It is rich in protein, vitamins, and antioxidants and also has very low fat and calorie content.
Here are some health benefits of gochujang:
- In one serving of gochujang, you will be consuming less than a gram of fat. But it is very rich in protein. It is a great food for those on a diet and those who want to eat a well-balanced diet.
- You get a lot of vitamin B2 and vitamin C. Vitamin B2 is extremely helpful for balancing your metabolism and keeps your thyroid healthy. Vitamin C prevents cancer and other cardiovascular diseases.
- Gochujang contains a lot of important minerals such as iron, calcium, magnesium, and others.
- Gochujang contains a large amount of capsaicin and it is extremely nutritious. It is a powerful cancer fighter. It kills breast cancer cells and is extremely helpful in the treatment of prostate cancer.
- Capsaicin is known for increasing our metabolism and burning fat. So it can be a great help to those who want to lose weight. Other benefits of this component include easing the symptoms of painful gastric ulcers.
Gochujang is an essential condiment to Korean food. All the deliciously spicy and savory Korean dishes we are a huge fan of are probably made with this paste. But, is gochujang keto friendly?
Unfortunately, no. The paste contains a lot of carbs and is not for keto dieters. But the article introduces a recipe for homemade keto-friendly gochujang that might prove helpful. Thank you for reading. Best of luck with your health goals.