Slide over Sriracha, there’s a new Asian hot sauce in town. Gochujang (go-choo-jahng) is a spicy sauce made from red peppers and fermented soybeans. The name comes from Korean words “gochu,” meaning pepper, and “jang,” meaning sauce.
Angela Hong, who immigrated from Seoul to the United States in 1975 when she was a year old, grew up adding gochujang to her food. But when Hong’s daughter, 12-year-old Isabel Crofoot, developed a gluten intolerance, the family — which includes Hong’s husband, Nick Crofoot, and their 10-year-old son Stephen Crofoot — created Born With Seoul.
“Gochujang available at Asian food markets is a paste filled with additives, which requires dilution,” Hong says. “It became a mission for us to make a healthy version of this condiment we could all enjoy.”
Born With Seoul has been available since January 2015 and is a product of Prairie Village-based Hoot (a combination of Hong and Crofoot) Foods. In June, the family began making the condiment at Flavor Trade, a Kansas City-based small-batch food manufacturer. Original Sesame and Sweet & Tangy flavors are vegan and gluten-free and have no GMOs or preservatives.
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Gochujang can be used as a sauce or marinade and to top everything from pork (to make Korean tacos) to bibimbap, a mixed rice dish. Hong says they may expand the Hoot Foods product line to include a salad dressing and barbecue sauce, too.
“I like doing tasting demonstrations with my mom,” Isabel says. “It feels good when people really like the Korean tastes I’ve grown up with.”
Angela Hong is the fifth of six children born to John “Sung Su” and Becky “Jong Hwa” Hong of Olathe. Born With Seoul gochujang is Becky’s recipe.
“It seems crazy to me that American tastes are changing this much,” Angela says. “When I was young, people used to come over to our house and ask what kimchi was.”
Becky is happy the family bottled her recipe. “But I am most proud,” she says, “because they are entrepreneurs.”
Korean Gochujang Pork Tacos
Angela Hong of Born With Seoul shops at the Oriental Market at 10336 Metcalf Ave. in Overland Park for spices and cut meat.
Makes 16 tacos
For the kimchi:
1 (1-pound) daikon radish, peeled and thinly julienned (about 4 cups)
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper powder or gochugaru
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon toasted black sesame seeds
4 medium-sized garlic cloves, minced, yielding 2 tablespoons
For the pork:
2 (1-pound) packages pork shoulder roast, thinly sliced
2 large sweet onions, thinly sliced
2 (9.5-ounce) bottles Born With Seoul Sweet & Tangy Gochujang sauce
For the assemblage:
16 (6-inch) flour or corn tortillas
6 green onions; wash, trim roots and 2 inches from green tops, and slice into thin rounds
4 limes, quartered, yielding 16 wedges
To make the daikon kimchi: In a glass bowl, stir daikon and salt together. Allow to sit for 15 minutes.
Pour contents into a colander placed in the sink. Rinse thoroughly with water and allow to drain well.
Pour drained daikon into a clean glass bowl, and stir in red pepper powder, rice vinegar, sugar, sesame seeds and garlic until well combined. Set aside and allow mixture to marinate while preparing pork.
To make the pork: In a large mixing bowl, separate thinly sliced pieces of pork and onion. Pour gochujang sauce over all and mix until evenly coated.
Pour mixture into a large sauté pan on the stovetop set to medium-high heat. Saute mixture, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes or until pork is cooked through and onions are soft. Turn heat to low to simmer mixture while assembling tacos.
To assemble: Heat a cast-iron skillet or griddle over high heat on stovetop. Carefully place a tortilla on hot cast-iron and lightly toast each side.
Place warmed tortilla on serving plate and place about 1/4 cup pork mixture in the center. Stir daikon kimchi and place about 1/4 cup on top of pork mixture.
Sprinkle green onion over all. Fold tortilla in half, squeeze juice of one lime wedge over all and serve immediately. Continue making tortillas until all ingredients are used.
Per taco: 252 calories (41 percent from fat), 11 grams total fat (4 grams saturated), 31 milligrams cholesterol, 22 grams carbohydrates, 15 grams protein, 334 milligrams sodium, 2 grams dietary fiber.