Is Gochujang Halal or Haram?

Is Gochujang Halal or Haram?

Gochujang is a Korean fermented condiment made from gochugaru (red chilies). Gochujang is a savory, sweet, and spicy condiment used in a variety of Korean and other recipes. Especially, it is widely used in European-inspired dishes. Apart from Korea, the condiment is equally popular in other countries and regions of the world including the UK.

Gochujang is salty, spicy because of the chilies, and a bit funky. It adds a rich flavor to the recipes. Gochujang is an integral ingredient of a wide range of recipes including but not limited to grilled chicken, beef and mutton recipes, broths, and soups.

gochujang halal

Due to its widespread use in the UK, Gochujang is readily available at grocery stores. Almost every house kitchen in the UK has a gochujang jar. In the upcoming sections, we will discuss whether gochujang is halal or haram so that the UK Muslim population can make an informed choice while purchasing this savory condiment.

Ingredients of Gochujang

Traditionally, Gochujang is produced from red chili flakes, glutinous rice, salt, and other ingredients. Following are the common ingredients of gochujang.

  • Red Chilies
  • Glutinous Rice
  • Meju Powder (fermented soybean)
  • yeotgireum (barley malt powder)
  • Salt

Islamic Principle of Halal and Haram

Muslims worldwide seek guidance from Quran and Sunnah for leading their lives according to Islamic teachings. These two primary guidance sources contain timeless principles that modern Muslims follow without any hesitation in any region of the globe.

Like its clear guiding principles for all aspects of human life, Quran has also some clear injunctions when it comes to whether a food or a particular act is halal or haram.

Allah (SWT), in Surah Al Baqarah, has clarified the halal and haram food for Muslims.

“He has only forbidden to you dead animals, blood, the flesh of swine, and that which has been dedicated to other than Allah. But whoever is forced [by necessity], neither desiring [it] nor transgressing [its limit], there is no sin upon him. Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.” (Quran 2:173) 

(Source of above-cited Quranic Verse:,17,95,101,22,20)

This Quranic verse is the guiding principle for distinguishing halal food from haram in Islam. According to this verse of the Holy Quran, carrion, i.e., dead meat, the blood, and swine (pig) meat, is haram. And also, if the slaughtering and dedication of any halal animal to other than Allah, then it is haram.

Similarly, Allah (SWT) has forbidden Muslims from eating insects, some other haram animals, and drinking alcohol.

Is Gochujang Halal or Haram?

When we have to decide whether a food is halal or haram then we first inspect its constituents. Upon examining the ingredients of gochujang, it seems that it is halal as all of its ingredients are halal. However, if fermented soybean contains alcohol beyond the permissible limits then the resulting gochujang will also become haram.

Similarly, gochujang is produced when it undergoes fermentation for several years. During fermentation, alcohol is produced as a by-product. Usually, this alcohol is negligible in quantity and can’t cause intoxication. A majority of Islamic jurists consider this alcohol (produced naturally during fermentation in small amounts) halal.

If gochujang has negligible alcohol, then it will be halal but if during prolonged fermentation, alcohol is produced in a considerable amount then it will be certainly haram. 

To Sum it Up

Holy Quran and Sunnah are the two primary sources of guidance for all Muslim populace. So, in light of the Quran and Sunnah, if gochujang consists of halal ingredients it is halal and vice versa. In the UK, gochujang paste is manufactured by a range of brands. Some brands have obtained halal certifications from prominent Muslim scholars and jurists. So, try to purchase the product of the such brand.

And if you are making gochujang at home then use only halal ingredients and make sure that the alcohol produced during fermentation remains under permissible limits.

However, before making a final decision, it is of utmost necessity to seek guidance from an established Islamic scholar of your respective school of thought who can make an informed decision based on the Holy Quran and the Sunnah teachings.

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