Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Korean Carrot Salad

I'm all into Korean food lately. Recipe of Korean Carrot salad, well known to all of us from former USSR, has come to my mind.
Blog's Category:   International, My Staple Food, USSR-era Recipes

Korean Carrot Salad


This salad is very popular in Ukraine. In fact, this salad is even sold in all Russian grocery stores here, in US. Anyway, whether small Korean population in Ukraine has effected tastes inclinations of Ukrainians or that's Chingiz Khan's genes in a diverse Ukrainian blood speak out, but somehow Ukrainians just adore bright and pungent Korean food and this carrot salad is perhaps the most loved one.

Taste Description

Well, it's very garlicky.. and spicy (although, spiciness level is easily adjustable, of course). Being supported by very powerful partners such as garlic and red pepper paste/flakes, coriander plays the leading part in a whole orchestra of this dish. Preferably freshly toasted and crushed, coriander is a star here. Sweet carrot, with a great texture and crunchiness, is a great carrier of all flavors these powerful spices bring.

How to Serve

Visually extremely appealing, this salad is a great choice for your holiday table. It's a wonderful companion to all your grilled meat or fish dishes. It also will keep in your fridge for several days and will gain to its flavor every day it stays in a fridge.
It is also awesome to be added to your sandwich as crunchy and very flavorful element.

Korean Carrot Salad

  • 5 large carrots, peeled and julienned
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1 tsp Korean red pepper paste (or red pepper flakes)
  • 2 tbs crushed coriander
  • 1-2 tbs vinegar
  • 1 tsp sugar (optional)
  • 0.5-1 tsp salt (to taste)
  • 3 tbs olive oil

- If using homemade coriander (preferably!), toast coriander seeds on a dry frying pan, stirring all the time, on a medium low heat until fragrant and golden/brown. To prevent burning, continue to stir for a couple more minutes when pan is taken from a heat. Cool seeds completely. Then pulse them briefly in a blender to get medium-coarsely crushed coriander. In a tightly covered jar, it will keep for months on your shelf. You'll see, after making your own ground coriander - there is no return to a store-bought one.

- In a large bowl, add salt to julienned carrot, mix and set aside.

- In a separate bowl, stir pepper paste with vinegar and set aside.

- In a frying pan, cook onion with olive oil until onion is golden brown. Take from heat and add mix of red pepper paste and vinegar. Stir.

- Add pepper/onion mix, minced garlic and coriander to the carrots. Mix thoroughly. Taste. Add sugar (if using). Adjust taste to your liking adding salt, sugar or vinegar.

- Transfer to a glass container and pop in a fridge for flavors to develop even more. Enjoy!

I buy dry coriander seeds in Indian food stores. They have to be dry roasted/toasted before crushed or ground.

Seeds are ready when they fume big aroma and color turns brownish.

Let seeds cool down before blending them. Blender (not a processor) makes the best job for me coarsely grinding coriander seeds in a brisk. Make your own crushed coriander, you'll see the difference - it's huge!

This tool (mandoline) is very useful but pretty dangerous. IF you do not want to take a chance, then just cut carrots into think matchsticks or resort to using processor to coarsely shred it. 

I do not want to take my chances to cut my fingers so I have a lot of leftovers from julienning my carrots. No worries - it's never wasted  - my son lo-o-oves to nibble on it, day or night.

This is a small teaspoon of salt... you, though put less and taste - you can always add more.

Salted, carrot is making juices ...

Here is a roasted hot pepper paste. One teaspoon of this stuff makes medium-spicy carrot - so adjust accordingly. You can buy this paste in any Asian store - it's a great stuff, it has very nice heat and adds a great hot-red color to your food (best quality as for me :)) It keeps forever in a fridge. I use it also in my Korean Calamari too.

Mix well... What a beautiful hot color, mmm?

Using red pepper paste versus red pepper flakes has great advantage - red pepper paste adds even more red hues to already naturally bright carrots. Pret-t-t-ty!


Sometimes I do express (or call it lighter) version of this salad, which does not include fried onion - it is just simple mix of julienned carrot, coriander (the must!), garlic, red pepper flakes, salt, sugar, vinegar and optional drop or two of olive oil.
I would insist that you would try both versions, with and without fried onion - they both have its own allure.


  1. Thanks for a great salad. I'm taking this to a Christmas pot-luck next week.


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