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Feb 28, 2013 02:53 PM

Asian Chili paste vs Chili sauce?

I have several Asian recipes that call for one or the other. I live in a small southern town without any Asian markets. I'm able to get chili sauce from the grocer, but not the paste.

Can I substitute the sauce with the paste? Or should I use something else? Or should I add something else?

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  1. There is not one kind of "Asian chili paste" (or "chili sauce", for that matter). Maybe if you can give some more specifics about what you're cooking, and what you have access to, people can give you a more helpful answer.

    By the way, most chili sauces should keep pretty well, so you should be able to order them online if you can't get what you need locally.

    9 Replies
    1. re: will47

      I have access only to this except that it doesn't say hot.

      As for the recipes, it doesn't specify any particular kind. They (all of them) just say chili paste. They're all oriental in nature, but really I've no idea specifically what country they are. There are tons of recipes that simply say Spicy Asian Stir-fry or whatnot.

      I agree though, I wish people wouldn't group them all into one continent. That's like saying "European Fish". WTF?

      1. re: magnoliasouth

        Sriracha will work (but it's definitely NOT my favorite, although some folks swear by it). It's not as hot as the "Chili-Garlic Sauce" made by the same company (Huy Fong) that makes your Sriracha. And is most likely not as hot as any Asian chili sauce put out by any supplier. To me, Sriracha has a faintly sweet taste to it that doesn't appeal to me, but since most recipes only ask for a token amount, you might not even notice.

        And as Will47 mentioned, it's pretty easy to find any & all canned/jarred Asian ingredients on line, & the vast majority last forever in pantry &/or fridge.

        1. re: Bacardi1

          Well, I don't cook Asian food often enough to justify buying it online. It would go bad before I used it all and with this economy that just isn't a thing I can do.

          1. re: magnoliasouth

            It will NEVER go bad. Once opened, keep it in the fridge. I'm talking about YEARS here. It's probably the most economical Asian ingredient you'll ever buy outside of soy sauce.

        2. re: magnoliasouth

          For a generic Chili Paste, I would suggest Sambal Olek from Huy Fong or similar.

          And the link you posted is no good(at least for me)

            1. re: chefj

              I agree with Huy Fong's Sambal Oelik. It's a fantastic chilli paste, great flavour and reasonable heat, and will work with pretty much any recipe that calls for a chilli paste.

          1. I agree with will47. Probably is that there are more than one style of chili paste and chili sauce. They can be made from different chili pepper, and different overall ingredients.

            As for chili sauce vs chili paste, I think that is a smaller problem for most dishes.

            Sriracha is a very popular East Asian chili sauce, so I think it is a good place to start. In time, you may start to find out what you like better after some exploration. For now, I think it is a good starting point.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

              Do you have any East Asian supermarket near by? If so, then you have a lot more selection than you think.

              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                OP clearly stated in her original post that she has no Asian markets in her area.

            2. My recommendation would be for you to get a small bottle of Chili Garlic Sauce made by Huy Fong, the same manufacturer of the Srircha Sauce that was photographed. I got my last bottle at Walgreen's; I bet if you check out their website (or Walmart's) you would find it. The Chili Garlic Sauce lasts forever in the refrigerator and I've found it more versatile in Asian cooking than Sambal Oelek, which Huy Fong also manufactures.

              1. Again, without knowing what "Asian" dish this is for, a specific recommendation is hard.

                That said, Korean gochujang is an amazingly versatile paste that can used in many things, not just "Asian" preps.

                It can be purchased online from Amazon, or from H-Mart (, or a number of other on-line dealers.

                Gochujang will last a LONG TIME. It is not as hot as some of the other chili pastes/sauces, and tends to be slightly sweeter as well.

                You can cut it with honey and soy sauce to make marinades, mix it with blended onions, garlic, a bit of vinegar and honey, maybe some ginger, and have a great BBQ sauce.
                It can be used in soups, stews, salad dressings, stir fry, vegetable dishes, and so on.
                Once you experiment with it a few times you will probably find that you run out of it often.

                13 Replies
                1. re: hannaone

                  <Korean gochujang is an amazingly versatile paste that can used in many things, not just "Asian" preps.>

                  Yeah, I do like gochujang a lot. Most of them are very sweet though, so beware if this may or may not work for you.

                  <slightly sweeter as well>

                  Slightly is an understatement. Mine has more corn syrup as the first ingredient (i.e.: more than anything else by weight)

                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                      It will depend on the brand and style. Haechandle gochujang tends to be on the sweeter side. From this label it looks like you have their "Natural" or upscale product which features sun dried peppers, Korean rice, natural sea salt, and soy beans.

                      Other brands/styles can use sugar, brown sugar, honey, malt syrup, or fruits as sweeteners, or a combination, although most do use corn syrup now.

                      And then you also have the Chinese made gochujang like the one in the pic below

                      1. re: hannaone

                        < From this label it looks like you have their "Natural" or upscale product>

                        Yeah, I did look through their various label, and this one seems more natural. It is slightly more expensive too, but not by much.

                        They did say this brand is #1 seller in Korea. :P

                        Yes, yours have the sugar lower on the list :)

                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics


                          This isn't what I use - I thought it was humorous that a "Korean" brand was made in China.

                          This pic is from a 5 gallon bucket of the "Hometown" brand that I saw at (unnamed) restaurant in Spokane.

                          I usually use the Haechandle Taeyancho Gochujang.

                          1. re: hannaone

                            < I thought it was humorous that a "Korean" brand was made in China.>

                            Hey, many things happen. I know a few people from Taiwan were pissed when some Taiwan sauce was outsourced to be made in Mainland China.

                            <This pic is from a 5 gallon bucket of the "Hometown" brand that I saw at (unnamed) restaurant in Spokane.>

                            You had me at 5 gallon. :)

                            <I usually use the Haechandle Taeyancho Gochujang.>

                            I hope you usually don't use 10 gallon.

                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                              You could also go this route (My wife and I do sometimes)

                              Gochujang (Quick version)

                              Servings: 250


                              1.5 gallons water

                              16 ounces Malt Powder

                              16 ounces Glutinous Rice Powder

                              16 ounces Fermented Soy Bean Powder

                              35 ounces Fine Red Pepper Powder

                              12 ounces salt

                              20 ounces honey


                              Put the water into a large pot and bring to a full rolling boil.

                              Remove the pot from heat and let cool until it is safe to touch.

                              Place the malt flour into a clean lint free cloth, pull the edges up, twist, and make ball that you can hold.

                              Swirl the wrapped malt flour in the hot water for about 15 minutes, squeezing firmly every minute or so, until the water is a light brown color. Discard the malt flour.

                              Add the glutinous rice powder to the water and bring to a full boil, stirring continuously. Boil for about 2 to 3 minutes.

                              Remove from heat and let stand 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

                              Return the mixture to a boil, and cook until reduced by half (45 minutes to 1 hour), stirring occasionally. Remove from heat temporarily to avoid boil-over if needed.

                              Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.

                              When cool, add the soy bean and pepper powders, mix well, and stir about fifteen minutes (mixture should be stiff and paste-like).

                              Let stand for 30 minutes.

                              Add the salt and honey, and mix well.

                              Let stand for about 24 hours, then place in a lidded container(s) and refrigerate.

                              1. re: hannaone

                                :) I love you, man, but I think you may have mistaken my problem. My main reason for not eating much Gochujang is not the because I cannot make Gochujang or afford Gochujang. It is a minor problem. My main problem is that I don't eat that much. :)

                                Thanks for the recipe. You are very knowledgeable. I may "scale down" your recipe and try it later, but definitely not your original version. :P

                                Do you really eat 5 galleon of Gochujang?

                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                  yeah a 5-gallon batch - THAT is hardcore!

                                  1. re: hill food

                                    So far I've only bought 2 small containers (200g). Today I found a small jar to the red pepper powder at HMart (don't have space for a large bag).

                                  2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                    When we were in the restaurant business we would run through about 5 gallons every month or so.
                                    At home we use between a pint and a quart per month. Depends on how many Ssam style meals we do.
                                    When we do make the big batch we share with family and friends.

                                    When grilling season gets here we may use more in marinades and sauces.

                                    1. re: hannaone

                                      Hannaone, thanks for that hardcore recipe.

                                      Do you find that it makes a noticeable difference to use higher quality gochujang (aka sans corn syrup)?

                                      I know that with kimchi (my Korean wife makes), it is very obvious, (talking here in the US) even if you buy really good kimchi - nothing beats homemade.

                                      1. re: xiaobao12

                                        It's a matter of personal taste.

                                        Corn syrup itself does not mean a low quality paste and won't affect flavor very much if at all in a quality made product. It does affect the "sweetness" though.

                                        True traditional "Homemade" knocks the socks off any mass produced product - the problem with traditional homemade is that it takes months and sometimes a year or more to make.

                                        Some of the gourmet pastes that use fruits as sweetener will have a little different flavor profile.

                                        Just beware of those that list added MSG as an ingredient as this can be an indicator of lower quality.

                  1. What you don't want is Heinz chili sauce. :)

                    An earlier chili sauce question

                    and from Jan 2013

                    An important consideration is, how much does the recipe call for? Does it appear to be just a source of some heat, or is there enough to affect consistency, and provide other flavors (such as garlic, sugar, etc)?

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: paulj

                      I've seen that, but what does anybody use Heinz chili sauce for? I admit I like some of their products, but have never seen a reason for it.

                      1. re: hill food

                        I don't know Heinz's chilli sauce specifically, but in parts of Asia, it's pretty common to have chilli sauce or chilli garlic sauce in the place of ketchup to accompany fries in fast food joints.