Noodles tossed with a gochujang sauce? Count me in! These noodles are so much more than just “asian noodles.” The gochujang sauce has a punchy heat to it while also being characterized by a silky, sauciness—both reasons why it’s so craveable.
Gochujang rice noodles
Since rice noodles are so sticky, they work wonderfully in this recipe because they grab ahold of the flavorful sauce. Feel free to use any type of rice noodles such as pad thai, stir-fry, vermicelli, straight cut, etc. Often times I’ll stop by our local Asian market and just grab whatever variety looks interesting that day! No need to fret about the shape or size.
If you aren’t a fan of rice noodles or don’t have any on hand, you can also use spaghetti or linguine instead.
What is gochujang?
Gochujang is a fermented Korean chili paste that’s sweet, spicy and savory. It’s bright red in color, is sticky and thick, and is used as a condiment or in sauces in Korean cooking. (Think “sticky tomato paste,” to help you visualize the texture).
Where can I find gochujang?
I can always find a large container of gochujang at my local international market, but it’s becoming increasingly easier to find in mainstream grocery stores. You should be able to find it in the Asian section of most supermarkets. Otherwise, head on over to your local international or Asian market, it’s sure to be there. And of course, you can always get gochujang on Amazon.
When shopping for gochujang, look for a short bright red rectangle container (some have a gold lid)
How to make a gochujang sauce for noodles?
The sweet, spicy and savory qualities of gochujang make the bright red paste an ideal ingredient for pasta sauces, dipping sauces, bbq sauces, and more.
Here, I use gochujang in a sauce destined for a mixture of zucchini noodles and rice noodles (although you can choose to use one or the other if you don’t want the mixture). If you want just rice noodles, use 14–16 ounces of rice noodles. If you choose to use all zucchini noodles, use 6–8 medium zucchini.
This sauce recipe combines gochujang, hoisin (more salty, sweet), lime juice, olive oil and garlic. Instead of cooking the sauce separately from the noodles, I simply toss it right in with the cooked and drained rice noodles. Just a couple minutes over medium heat is all it needs to cook that “bite” out of the garlic.
From there, I toss in the zucchini noodles to heat through. While those are warming, I whisk together some water and cornstarch—an essential step to create a thick, smooth sauce. The cornstarch slurry gets added to the pot of noodles and cooked for a minute or so until thicken. Off heat, I throw in a few pats of butter and a drizzle of toasted sesame oil to guarantee that crave-able silkiness and to add a dose of comfort.
How to use gochujang sauce
There are a few ways you can use this sauce:
- Tossed with noodles (as this recipe does)
- As a glaze for asian meatballs (swap out the hoisin sauce for a few tablespoons of gochujang and honey)
- As a bbq sauce for grilled meat
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Saucy Gochujang Noodles
- 3 large zucchini, spiralized*
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 8 ounces rice noodles, cooked according to package directions; drained
- ¼ cup gochujang**
- 3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
- 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
- ½ cup water
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
- 2 tablespoon unsalted butter, vegan butter if needed
- Sliced scallions and sesame seeds for serving, optional
- Toss zucchini with salt in a strainer set over a bowl; let sit 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, whisk together gochujang, hoisin, lime juice, oil, and garlic.
- Cook rice noodles according to package directions; drain and transfer back to pot over medium heat. Pour gochujang sauce over noodles and cook 2 minutes.
- Squeeze zucchini noodles to release excess liquid (when you think you’re done, squeeze a bit more), discard liquid and transfer zucchini noodles to pot with rice noodles and sauce and gently toss to combine.
- Whisk together water and cornstarch; pour into pan with noodles and cook until thickened and silky; about 1 minute. Off heat, stir in sesame oil and butter.
- Top with scallions and sesame seeds.
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