Korean Carrot Salad

5 from 1 vote

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What do you get when you mix the foodways of Korea 🇰🇷 and Russia 🇷🇺? Answer: this crunchy, tart, refreshing carrot 🥕 salad that mimics the flavors and texture of kimchi. You’ll want to make a double batch of these carrots: they make for a delicious side dish alongside fish 🐟 or meat, and they hold up beautifully in the fridge for over a week.

Also known as Morchovka, this dish has a fascinating history, dating back to around the 1930s. It was during this time that Korean refugees in the former Soviet Union found unique ways to recreate the food of their homeland, using improvised ingredients. Morchovka (which loosely translated in Russian means “Korean Carrots”), was meant to replicate crunchy, sour, spicy kimchi; carrots took the place of Napa cabbage and this incredible cultural fusion dish was born.

Why You’ll Love Korean Carrot Salad

If you love pickled vegetables, this salad is for you. Thin strips of carrots marinate in a mixture of vinegar, garlic, and cayenne, which adds tang and just a small kick of spice 🔥. You can prepare this dish in under 5 minutes ⏲ and it’s ready to serve, but let it sit in the fridge for a day (or a few), and the dish only gets better: crunchy and more flavorful. Best of all, it’s a very flexible recipe, which can be made with different variations and substitutions.

How to Prepare Korean Carrot Salad

🥕 Peel the carrots with a standard vegetable peeler. Then julienne the carrots using a julienne peeler.

🔪 If you don’t have one, you can julienne them by hand with a sharp chef’s knife. Alternatively, you can grate the carrots, but julienning gives the preferred texture.

🥣 Place the julienned carrots in a bowl.

🧄 Combine garlic, salt, paprika, cayenne, and white balsamic vinegar in the bowl with the carrots.

🌶️ Warm oil in a small pot until it shimmers, then carefully pour it over the garlic and spice mixture to cook them slightly.

✋ Let the mixture cool a bit, then mix well with clean bare hands or gloved hands to ensure an even distribution of garlic and spices.

✨ Transfer the carrots to a large glass jar with a lid.

🌕 Enjoy immediately or refrigerate for better flavor; they’ll last for about 10 days in a tightly sealed jar in the fridge.

Nonna’s Tip 🥕

Feel free to use any vinegar of choice. However, I feel like the subtle sweetness of white balsamic pairs best with the salad. Spices are always to taste and measured with your 💖

Korean Carrot Salad

Variations and Substitutions for Korean Carrot Salad

  1. You can use different types of vinegar here. I recommend any light-colored vinegar to maintain the bright orange of the carrots (i.e. black balsamic is not recommended). Instead of white balsamic, try white wine vinegar, champagne vinegar, and apple cider vinegar are all good options.
  2. The cayenne pepper brings some heat to the dish 🌶. You can also use other types of chili powders: gochugaru (Korean chili flakes), red pepper flakes, ground Indian chiles (such as Kashmiri chili powder).
  3. A julienne peeler makes it easy to prepare carrot 🥕 strips. You can also use a spiralizer or a sharp chef’s knife to julienne the carrots by hand.
  4. Any neutral oil will work here, such as a mild olive oil, vegetable oil, etc.
  5. I like to store these in a glass jar 🫙 because it looks pretty and glass doesn’t absorb odor. But a plastic container or even a bowl will work just fine for preparing and storing this recipe.

Best Served With

Common Questions

what other oil can I use?

Sunflower or vegetable oil is traditionally used, but you can use any oil of your choice. I’ve customized this recipe to my liking, and I encourage you to do the same. Make it your own by experimenting with different oils to suit your taste preferences.

what spices are more traditional?

Spices such as cardamom or chili flakes are typically used but feel free to adjust the spices according to your preference or availability.

can i use a regular grater?

Yes, you can certainly use a regular grater, but I prefer the texture achieved when using a Julienne Peeler.

what other vinegar can I use?

Typically, people use regular vinegar or rice vinegar, but I particularly enjoy how white balsamic vinegar adds sweetness to the dish.

How long does the Korean CArrot Salad last in the fridge?

I haven’t had the chance to experiment with storage times because my family finished this salad within 2 days! In Bulgaria, we typically rely on our senses, like smell, to determine if food has spoiled.

Korean Carrot Salad

Korean Carrot Salad

If you love pickled vegetables, this salad is for you. Thin strips of carrots marinate in a mixture of vinegar, garlic, and cayenne, which adds tang and just a small kick of spice 🔥.
5 from 1 vote
Course: Appetizer, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine: korean, Russian
Servings: 4
Author: The Modern Nonna
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients 

  • 3 large carrots, (about 1.5-2 pounds total)
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • cup white balsamic vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • teaspoon cayenne
  • ¼ cup avocado oil, or any neutral oil

Instructions 

  • Using a standard vegetable peeler, peel the carrots. Then, julienne the carrots using a julienne peeler. If you do not have a julienne peeler, you can julienne the carrots by hand, using a sharp chef's knife.
  • You can also grate the carrots instead, but I like the texture of the carrots most when using a Julienne peeler.
  • In a bowl, add the julienned carrots. Now combine the garlic, salt, paprika, cayenne, and white balsamic vinegar.
  • Warm the oil in a small pot over medium heat until it shimmers. Carefully pour the warm oil on top of the garlic and spice mixture. The warm oil helps cook the spices and garlic a bit.
  • Let it cool a bit (if warm) and mix well with clean hands. Please use clean hands or wear gloves as stirring it with a fork or tongs won't distribute the garlic or spices well enough.
  • Add the carrots to a large glass jar with a lid. The carrots can be enjoyed right away but are even better after a night of marinating in the fridge. The carrots will last in a tightly sealed jar or container for about 10 days in the fridge.

Video

Nutrition

Calories: 166kcal, Carbohydrates: 10g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 14g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 10g, Sodium: 328mg, Potassium: 195mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 5g, Vitamin A: 7793IU, Vitamin C: 4mg, Calcium: 30mg, Iron: 0.4mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Appetizer, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine: korean, Russian
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Hi! I'm Sneji. Nice to meet you!

I am more commonly known as “The Modern Nonna” on social media where I create easy home cooked meals with a modern twist. I was born and raised in Sofia, Bulgaria and learned how to cook at the best culinary school in the world – my grandma’s kitchen. I lived in Greece on the Island of Crete with my parents for a while and then moved to Toronto, Canada when I was in grade 5. I started to really cook and experiment with food 11 years ago when I was 21 years old. Everything I currently know is a reflection of some part of my life…

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6 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This was delicious. We didn’t wait to eat it and it was excellent. Definitely will be delicious next day too. This will be on rotation.
    The paprika is the perfect addition here! If in doubt with the recipe watch the video. It’s perfectly explained as always. Sneji recipes are easy to follow.

    1. Hi Kara! Add the vinegar, spice, garlic mixture to the carrots and then warm the oil and pour the oil on top of the bowl containing all the ingredients. Once cool, mix, then transfer all ingredients to a jar to marinate.

  2. Am I reading this correctly? Add the warm oil to the garlic, vinegar & spice mixture, let it cool, then add that to the carrots?

    1. Hi Stacey, so you add everything to the carrots and then warm the oil and pour the oil on top of the spices and the garlic which is already in the carrot bowl if that makes sense