You are not "required" to use any particular method; you are required to maintain the integrity of the wall- that is, not make it less effective in blocking fire.
One may do this by simply using methods essentially the same as the original construction; for example, a hole in a brick wall can be patched with brick and mortar.
The 'red stuff' came about for two reasons:
The first was because the use of a flammable expanding foam resulted in a fire that darn near destroyed a nuclear reactor.
The second was because of the difficulty of telling a good patch from a bad one. For example, a wall with an inch of sheetrock needs for patches to also be an inch thick- not just a skim of plaster over a bit of tape. The red stuff is much easier to push into the opening, and (usually) expands to fill gaps when it gets hot.
Various fire-stop materials are rated by UL. Many of these listed products are little different from plaster or mortar. With any of them, it is essential that they be applied as the design specifies.
UL does publish a three-volume "Fire Resistance Directory." These designs are detailed there.