Korean
Korean carrot salad in a jar with chopsticks.

Korean Carrot Salad, Morkovcha, is a bright and spicy carrot dish! This crunchy salad is easy to make with basic pantry ingredients and is perfect as a side dish for any meal or picnic.

Korean carrot salad in a jar with chopsticks.Korean carrot salad in a jar with chopsticks.

Honestly, I wasn't a big fan of carrots until I tried the Korean carrot salad known as Morkovcha. This salad features thin carrots julienned and tossed in a simple vinaigrette made with pantry staples.

It's amazing how old carrots can turn into such a refreshing, tangy, crunchy salad! Even if you're not a fan of carrots, you'll find yourself loving this dish. Seriously!

In Korea we call it carrot kimchi, but it is inspired by a Russian version. The dish combines flavors from both cultures, such as kimchi re-imported from Russia.

This Russian-Korean salad recipe is super easy to make and so delicious that I often find myself munching on the entire batch. I have to hold back, otherwise I might turn into a carrot!

Korean carrot salad in a serving dish.Korean carrot salad in a serving dish.

About Korean Carrot Salad (Morkovcha)

Morkovcha (Морковча), or “Korean carrots” in Russian, was created by ethnic Koreans known as Koryo-saram, who were moved to Central Asia by Stalin in the 1930s.

In their new homes they had to adapt their traditional recipes, especially kimchi, using available ingredients. Since Napa cabbage and radishes were hard to find, they started using carrots, leading to the creation of this unique Korean salad.

Julienned carrots with potato peeler.Julienned carrots with potato peeler.

During the Soviet era, the Korean carrot dish became popular because it was easy to prepare and used common, inexpensive ingredients. The salad consists of thinly sliced ​​carrots marinated in a tangy mixture of vinegar, garlic, sugar and salt. Sometimes a little chilli is added for additional spice.

Today Morkovcha is still enjoyed in many post-Soviet countries. It is a simple yet flavorful dish that showcases the creativity and adaptability of the Koryo-saram people, preserving their culinary traditions in a new form.

How to make Korean Carrot Salad

Peel and julienne the carrots using a mandolin, vegetable slicer or sharp knife. Place the julienned carrots in a bowl and season with salt. Leave them to dry for 10 minutes.

Add sugar, vinegar and gochugaru (Korean chili flakes). If you don't have gochugaru, replace it with a mix of cayenne pepper and paprika. Throws well.

Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium-low heat and fry the garlic until aromatic, being careful not to burn it. Pour the hot oil and garlic mixture over the carrots and mix well.

The salad is ready to serve or can be chilled in the refrigerator for 2 hours to allow the flavors to meld.

Korean carrot salad (morkovcha) in a jar.Korean carrot salad (morkovcha) in a jar.

What to serve with Morkovcha

Korean carrot salad pairs well with a variety of dishes. It is especially delicious alongside grilled meat or fish, such as Los Angeles galbi, samgyupsal or grilled mackerel.

This salad is also a versatile side dish for any meal or sandwich. It's perfect for a side dish at a barbecue or for a picnic. You'll love how beautifully it pairs with other foods and you'll see how quickly it disappears!

Helpful tips and notes

  1. For a better result I recommend using a mandolin or a julienne peeler to cut the carrots into julienne strips. If you don't have them, you can slice the carrots thinly by hand. You can also use a regular grater, but this will lose some of the crunchy texture.
  2. I like to add a hint of gochugaru for vibrant colors and subtle warmth. This is optional and you can omit it for a milder salad or replace it with a mix of cayenne pepper and paprika.
    • For a stronger flavor, you can sprinkle some spices like coriander or cardamom.
  3. As for vinegar, regular rice vinegar or white vinegar are typical choices, but white wine vinegar is also a great option.
    • Avoid dark vinegar such as balsamic vinegar, as it will darken the bright orange color of the carrots.
Korean carrot salad in a jar with chopsticks.Korean carrot salad in a jar with chopsticks.

Korean Carrot Salad (Morkovcha)

Korean Carrot Salad, Morkovcha, is a bright and spicy carrot dish! This crunchy salad is easy to make with basic pantry ingredients and is perfect as a side dish for any meal or picnic.

  • 1 lb carrot
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 table spoon sugar
  • 2 table spoon White vinegar, see note below
  • 1/2 table spoon gochugaru, or 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper + 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 3 table spoon oil
  • 1 table spoon minced garlic
  • Peel the carrots and cut them into thin strips using a mandolin, vegetable slicer or sharp knife. Place the julienned carrots in a bowl, sprinkle them with salt and let them rest for 10 minutes to soften.

  • Stir in the sugar, vinegar, and gochugaru (Korean chili flakes). If gochugaru isn't available, use a combination of cayenne pepper and paprika. Mix everything well.

  • In a saucepan, heat the oil over medium-low heat and sauté the garlic until it becomes aromatic, taking care that it does not burn. Pour the hot garlic oil over the carrots and mix thoroughly.

  • The salad can be served immediately or left to cool in the refrigerator for 2 hours to enhance the flavors. For storage, this carrot salad can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

  • As for vinegar, regular rice vinegar or white vinegar are typical choices, but white wine vinegar is also a great option. Avoid dark vinegar such as balsamic vinegar, as it will darken the bright orange color of the carrots.
  • For a milder salad, you can omit the gochugaru or replace it with a mix of cayenne pepper and paprika. For a more robust flavor, sprinkle a little spice like coriander or cardamom.

Calories: 132kcal, Carbohydrates: 11G, Protein: 1G, Fat: 10G, Saturated fats: 1G, Polyunsaturated fats: 3G, Monounsaturated fat: 6G, Trans fats: 0.04G, Sodium: 451mg, Potassium: 265mg, Fiber: 2G, Sugar: 7G, Vitamin A: 12,827UI, C vitamin: 5mg, Soccer: 32mg, Iron: 0.4mg

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