Korean Magic Paste

This condiment gets its magic from Korean-style red pepper (aka gochugaru), a smoky-spicy-sweet spice blend. The paste has a concentrated flavor, so a little goes a long way. Add a bit to plain cooked ramen noodles (skip the seasoning packet) or mix some with butter or oil for veggies or an amped-up spread for bread.
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korean magic paste

Recipe by Bill Kim

Servings: Makes about 1 cup


  • 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced

  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled

  • 2 tbsp. fennel seeds

  • 1/2 cup fish sauce

  • 1/4 cup gochugaru (Korean-style red pepper)

  • 1/4 cup toasted sesame oil


In a food processor, pulse the ginger, garlic, and fennel seeds until finely chopped. Add the fish sauce, gochugaru, and oil. Process until almost smooth, about 30 seconds. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks or freeze for up to 2 months.