Serves a Crowd

Korean Carrot Salad

July 26, 2013
3 Ratings
  • Makes 4 cups
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!

What You'll Need
  • 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.
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9 Reviews

Dina M. January 9, 2020
I stumbled upon this recipe on some food blog somewhere and it sounded so delicious I bookmarked it. I just made it tonite and it is SO GOOD! the Major catalyst for me making this dish is the fact that I almost always keep Trader Joe's Carrot Spirals on hand in my freezer. they have become one of my favorite staples to have around as they are so versatile and a nice option in lieu of pasta. this made this dish SUPER easy. if I had to cut the carrots by hand I probably wouldn't have made it. Anyway, the salad is now resting comfortably in my fridge waiting for me to dive in for lunch tomorrow. Will definitely make this again and again!
THK January 28, 2019
I talked to my Korean buddy from Central Asia about this. Apparently the original Korean style chili peppers weren't available, so they used the traditional Central Asian varieties of chili peppers, applied the traditional way of making them into powder. It is imperative to say that the Korean dishes in Central Asia originally came from the early 20th century era northeastern portion of North Korea (then under a very brutal Japanese colonialism). So even today, NE North Korean cuisine and Central Asian Korean cuisine tend to have slightly less chili pepper flavor than the dishes from today's South Korea.
Maya June 26, 2018
This is the best recipe for Korean Carrot salad that I have found in English. Tasty as written, but use sunflower oil if you have it! This was the first time I've used onions, and they are a tasty, if atypical, addition.
Courtney A. December 2, 2017
When do you add the sugar? Bringing this to a potluck tonight :)
Yuliya C. December 2, 2017
Along with the rest of the slices before pouring olive oil on.
pow August 13, 2013
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.
Eat A. August 13, 2013
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.
THK January 28, 2019
Well, cutting root vegetables in very long thread-like strips is a traditional Korean preparation method appropriate for using both spoons and chopsticks.
Mimi July 27, 2013
This looks delicious!