Korean Carrot Salad

By • July 26, 2013 • 3 Comments


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Author Notes: Rumor has it that Korean carrot salad isn’t Korean in origin at all, but is, in reality, an invention of the Russians with an exotic twist. All I know is that it emerged in the 80s and instantly became a staple. Crunchy, zesty and lightly fermented, this salad, or condiment, or side dish, whatever you want it to be, will surely make more than one appearance on your table.Eat Already!

Makes 4 cups

  • 1 pound fresh carrots, peeled
  • 1/2 medium red onion, sliced very thinly
  • 4 cloves garlic, slivered thinly or finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons vinegar (can use apple cider vinegar if desire)
  • fresh juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon whole coriander seed, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne (makes medium spicy, reduce or increase the heat by adjusting this amount accordingly)
  • fresh cilantro, chopped (optional)
  1. Here is a true test of your knifing skills. The goal is to slice carrots into thin long strips. No one except Japanese chefs can do that; ordinary people like me use julienne cutter. So, using a tool or your incredible knifing skills, cut carrots into thin long strips. Sprinkle some salt, stir, make a “hill” out of carrots and let rest for about 10 minutes.
  2. Heap all the spices and garlic at the top of the carrot hill.
  3. Slice onion as thin as possible. Heat the oil in a skillet, add onions. Cook for a minute, not longer, until oil is boiling.
  4. Carefully pour the oil over the spices. Toss onions with the carrots, add vinegar, lemon juice and fresh herbs. Toss everything together well, don’t mash. Let cool and put in a fridge for 1-2 hours at least.

Comments (3) Questions (0)

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8 months ago pow

Contrary to your description, I first heard about this salad from my mother's Ukrainian co-worker who was eating it at lunch and when my mother asked if if it was a Ukrainian or Russian dish he replied that it was Korean.

Being an avid Russophile, I decided to look up this mysterious salad. According to Russian Wikipedia, this dish translates into something like, "Carrots, Korean Style." It appears to be an invention of the Koryo-Saram (Soviet Koreans - predominantly in Central Asia). Apparently it was hard to find the napa cabbage used to make kimchi in the USSR, so the Koryo-Saram decided to use carrots instead and "morkovcha/morkov' po koreyskiy" was born.

I am excited to find a recipe for this in English.

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8 months ago Eat Already!

Well, I am from Ukraine myself and I always thought that the dish was indeed Korean in origin for many years. But I read articles about it, and as I said there are some theories that its a perfectly Russian/Ukrainian dish with an exotic twist. Speaking of Kim Chi, it's usually not made with cayenne. It uses various hot peppers, true, but I don't believe cayenne is one of them. I would not be surprised at all if cayenne, which was readily available in USSR was substituted for exotic Korean chili powder, just like carrots were substituted for napa. Whatever the case may be, this dish is one of my favorites from the Ukrainian part of my life. Hope you enjoy it.

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9 months ago Mimi

This looks delicious!