During my childhood in Belarus, no trip to the market was complete without a purchase of Korean-style carrot salad. Everybody loved it. It is a perfect side dish which goes well with all kinds of protein and other veggies or a part of an appetizer plate. This salad is good by itself and we may easily incorporate it into another dish (my mum even bake fish with it).
Korean salad unknown in Korea
This way to prepare carrots is widely known and beloved in all post-Soviet countries and now even internationally. There are several versions of salad origin. One says Koreans was looking for the alternative to beloved kimchi and carrot was used instead of cabbage. Others talk about a very popular dish – khe, marinated raw fish as roots of this carrot salad. Anyway, I’m glad now we have it.
This carrot was prepared and then popularized by Koryo-saram. Koreans lived in Middle Asia (Uzbekistan) and also on Sakhalin adapted their cuisine to available products. That is why their cuisine is very unique and different from what you know as Korean food.
What is important for Korean-style carrot salad
There are a lot of variations of this salad. Recipes with hot and cold oil, fried onions, sesame seeds, soy sauce, spices and level of heat. But some things are common. Carrot is always julienne and the main flavor is coriander seeds, garlic, chili peppers, and vinegar. It is possible to cut carrot by hand but to make the process faster and less stressful use julienne mandoline.
Experiment with the spices and you will come up with your favorite combination. I don’t use chili peppers and very little of black one because my husband could not tolerate any amount of heat. I taste as I go. Sometimes add a bit of sugar because the local carrot is not sweet enough but if you don’t have to. I will give you the recipe with cold oil but feel free to try a hot oil version, I’ll give you directions for that as well.
How to eat Korean-style carrot salad
Of course, you can serve it as it is. Sometimes I grill thin slices of eggplant, spread a bit of mayo over it and roll the salad inside. It’s a very delicious, easy and beautiful appetizer. Add some baked, grilled or fried eggplant into the carrot and you will have a new variation of this salad. It could be a part of many salads, of lettuce wraps, or think about taco twist. Peppers, beans, and zucchini also a good choice to play with.
Korean-style carrot salad
- 600 g (1.3 lb) carrot raw
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp or to taste sugar optional
- 2 tbsp coriander seeds freshly ground
- 1 tsp black pepper freshly ground
- 1 1/2 tsp garlic paste
- 2 tbsp or to taste distilled vinegar 5%
- 2 tbsp sunflower oil
- Wash, peel, and julienne the carrot.
- Add sugar if carrot not sweet enough. Let stand for 5 minutes. Add salt, mix and let stand 5 minutes more.
- Make garlic paste. Since the amount is small crush it with the knife and mince. Dry roast coriander seeds on a hot skillet. Grind them with black pepper. Combine with carrots. I prefer to do this by hand for even distribution.
- Add distilled vinegar and taste. When you satisfied add sunflower oil. Taste carrots and make final adjustments with seasoning. Keep refrigerated in a closed container for up to a week.
If you want to try this with hot oil season the carrot and put all spices over the carrot. Then pour the hot oil (some people prefer to fry onion in it to transfer the flavor and then discard it) over the spices, mix, season with vinegar.
I’d love to hear from you!