I had tasted gochujang, the Korean chile paste, but it wasn’t until I cooked with it recently that I started thinking about all of the things that it could make better. The hot, salty, slightly sweet paste has long been widely popular, but it wasn’t something I’d experimented with at home.
I began hitting the replay button on it, using it in a variety of dishes and taking inspiration from others, including Ali Slagle’s three-ingredient skirt steak with gochujang (and honey), which I tested for a story here at The Washington Post. I bought some for my home kitchen and since have brushed it on shrimp, added a bit to a stir-fry and put a dollop in dumpling dipping sauce.
It came to the rescue on a recent evening, giving a flavor boost to thin-cut, boneless chops. I like the chops for weeknights because they cook so quickly, but often they are dry and not too flavorful. I have tried marinating them in a spicy concoction. That helps a bit, but making the marinade and setting aside the time for the meat to soak up the flavors almost negates the ease of the cooked-in-minutes chop.
Enter gochujang. I ran the chops under the broiler. Then, I pulled them out and slathered them with the paste on both sides and returned them to the broiler for a couple more minutes. The edges started to get a bit crunchy with chile paste. They were just delicious.
I sliced them and plopped them atop a citrus coleslaw for a brightly flavored supper that called to mind a summer cookout.
The meat actually plays a supporting role to the slaw here. This one calls for ginger, soy sauce and sesame seeds, which I think married well with the spicy pork, but cabbage slaws are seemingly infinitely adjustable.
This experience had me wondering: What are other people’s go-to jarred sauces, pastes or other condiments? Which ones have become part of your everyday cooking? Please tell me what they are and how you use them in the comments below. Maybe we can help one another expand our stable of flavors. Something that might seem obvious to you could provide a fresh taste sensation for someone else.
Make Ahead: The vinaigrette for the slaw can be made 3 days in advance.
Storage Notes: The chops and slaw can be refrigerated in separate containers for up to 2 days.
- FOR THE PORK CHOPS
- 4 thin boneless pork chops (about 3 ounces each)
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 4 tablespoons gochujang, plus more for serving, if desired
- FOR THE SLAW
- 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated ginger (optional)
- 2 cups thinly shredded green cabbage (about 1/2 medium head)
- 1 cup thinly shredded red cabbage (about 1/4 medium head)
- 1/2 cup roughly chopped parsley leaes
- 1/2 cup coarsely grated carrots (about 1 large carrot)
- 1/4 cup sliced scallions (from 1 large scallion), plus more for garnish
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds (optional)
Place the oven rack 5 to 6 inches from the broiler and turn on the broiler. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with foil and lightly grease the foil.
Pat the chops dry and then lightly salt and pepper both sides. Transfer the chops to the baking sheet and place it under the broiler. Cook for about 4 minutes, turning once midway through cooking.
Remove the chops from the oven and brush them liberally with the gochujang on both sides. Return the chops to the broiler and broil for an additional 2 to 3 minutes on one side, watching carefully so the sauce does not burn.
Remove the pork from the oven. Transfer the meat to a cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes before slicing into 1/4-inch thick strips.
While the meat is resting, zest and juice the lemon. In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice and zest, lime juice, oil, soy sauce and sugar as well as the crushed red pepper flakes and ginger, if using.
In a large bowl, combine the cabbages, parsley, carrots and scallions.
Add the vinaigrette and sesame seeds, if using, to the slaw and toss until well coated. Taste, and season with salt and pepper, if needed.
Divide the slaw among 4 shallow bowls and top with the sliced pork. Sprinkle with additional scallions, if desired.
Recipes from Ann Maloney.
Tested by Ann Maloney; email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Calories: 271; Total Fat: 12 g; Saturated Fat: 2 g; Cholesterol: 56 mg; Sodium: 1062 mg; Carbohydrates: 19 g; Dietary Fiber: 4 g; Sugars: 12 g; Protein: 22 g.