This Korean carrot salad recipe is full of flavour and is really well known throughout all the former Soviet Union countries.
Made up of raw, fresh & crunchy julienned carrots and seasoned with crushed coriander seeds, red pepper flakes, garlic, vinegar, soy sauce and sautéed onions in oil. Mixed all together and topped with freshly chopped coriander or dill.
Where Did This Spicy Korean Salad Originate From?
Korean carrot salad (Корейская Морковь, pronounced Koryeĭskaya Morkov in Russian or Koreyscha Sabzili Salat in Uzbek) is said to be first invented by Korean immigrants who fled to Siberia (Russia’s far East) seeking better economic opportunities. The recipe would have stayed there if Stalin hadn’t forcibly deported the Soviet Koreans further west to the Central Asian republics of Uzbekistan and Kazakstan in the late 1930s. Stalin’s fear that Japanese spies were infiltrating the USSR via these Korean immigrants spread Korean cuisine into the Soviet Union’s interior.
However, rumour has it that this Korean Carrot Salad is not traditional or authentic to Korea itself. The Korean immigrants were said to be just trying to recreate Kimchi with whatever ingredients they now had and this was how the Korean Carrot Salad came to be. From there, the recipe spread throughout the former Soviet Union and into Uzbekistan.
I have no idea if this is true or not, however, if it is, it may have been the case while they were still in Siberia, and not later on when they came to Uzbekistan. The reason being is, that my husband said he remembers the Koreans selling their famous kimchi in Uzbek markets from a very young age. He explained how both, Kimchi as well as the Korean Carrot Salad played a huge part in his upbringing and the Uzbek culture in general.
What Can You Serve This Carrot Salad With?
This carrot salad is a common side dish that pairs wonderfully with Uzbek Pilaf or Plov, Grechka (buckwheat) or any rice dishes, barbequed meats or grilled fish. You can even be innovative and add it to a Mezza or any salad platter.
This Korean Carrot Salad Can Be Made In Advance
If you refrigerate this lightly fermented scrumptious mix, it will stay fresh for days! I find it’s the perfect salad recipe to prepare ahead of time for guests or parties. Although it can be served straight away it is highly recommended to set aside and marinate in the fridge for at least 4-6 hours. It will take a good few days for the flavours to really come out and kick in. To store, simply transfer it into a sealed container and keep it in the fridge for up to a week.
Korean Carrot Salad
- 1 Julienne Slicer or Grater
- 5 (450g) Medium carrots peeled and julienned
- 1 Small onion peeled, halved & sliced long
- 1-2 Garlic cloves to taste (peeled & grated)
- 1-2 tsp Crushed coriander seed or ground coriander
- 1 tsp Crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp Smoked paprika optional
- 1 tbsp Soy sauce
- 2 tsp Sugar or honey use a keto sweetener for keto friendly version.
- 3 tbsp White vinegar
- 1 tsp Sesame seeds
- 1 tsp Sea salt
- ¼ cup Oil
- Season the carrots with a little salt and rub together before setting aside for the juice to release.
- After about 5-10 minutes, rinse and drain the carrots and pat dry with a tea towel or kitchen tissue.
- In a frying pan heat the oil and saute the sliced onion until lightly browned, then remove from heat and stir in the grated garlic and set aside to cool.
- Mix the remaining ingredients into the onion oil & pour over the carrots. Mix everything together until the salad is combined.
- Refrigerate for at least 4 hours and garnish with fresh-cut coriander, parsley or dill before serving.