Substitutes for Korean ingredients

by Maria
(Imphal, Manipur, India)

Luna, instead of beef and tofu, can we use some other ingredients?

Luna: Yes you can change a lot of ingredients in Korean cooking, in fact a number of dishes are very similar except for say the meat or main vegetables.

Meats are pretty much interchangeable for example you could replace beef with either chicken or pork very easily.

If you don't want to use Tofu it's probably best to omit this and use some extra vegetables or meat as a replacement.

There are also a number of Korean ingredients that may be difficult to attain, you can substitute these with ingredients that are close.

Red Pepper powder can be substituted with Chili powder or chili flakes, although not the same they are reasonably close.

Gochujang can be substituted by mixing some chili powder, with some flour, soy sauce, sugar and sesame oil. This will make a paste that you can use.

Korean Soy sauce is a dark soy sauce, but you can use a light type if you would prefer.

Instead of Korean Pears you can use normal pears, probably 2 of every 1 Korean pear, as these are bigger.

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Feb 13, 2012
Perilla seed powder NEW
by: Anonymous

What is perilla seed powder and can one use for a substitute"?

Jul 06, 2016
sesame NEW
by: Anonymous

Sesame seed powder can be substituted for perilla seed powder

Oct 19, 2016
Sugar... NEW
by: Felisha


I don't use sugar any longer and notice some Korean dishes call for sugar. For example in Kimchi, but is there anything else I could use instead of sugar?


Sep 13, 2021
Only Good Reason To Use Sugar - Making Kimchi NEW
by: Lynn

"They say" the sugar is the fuel for fermenting and is eaten up during the fermenting process. Although cautious I proceed if making Kim-chi, using 3 T of organic sugar as I have not used sugar for years.

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