One of my absolute favourite dishes is Korean Carrot Salad, or Morkovcha, as it is traditionally known. Being a food lover and a health freak, I am always looking for recipes that satisfy my tastebuds while keeping my calories in check. And Korean Carrot Salad does exactly that.
Korean Carrot Salad (Markovcha)
When I think of healthy food, usually, the image of bland salads and tasteless vegetables is what comes to my mind.
But, the mild sweetness of crispy and crunchy julienned carrots, coupled with the hot and tangy zest of seasoning in the salad, makes healthy eating seem a lot less dull and a lot more flavorful than it usually does. And it is surprisingly easy to make!
Now I am an absolute K-Drama and K-Pop stan, and thus, I am always on the lookout for ways to experience everything Korean - tradition, rituals, and of course, food. Thus, it was the name of the dish that led me to try it. Who could have guessed that I was in for a big surprise?
It turns out, Korean Carrot Salad is not a Korean recipe at all! It is commonly believed to have been invented in the Soviet Union by Korean immigrants.
They could not find the ingredients for their Kimchi and instead settled for whatever was available. Apparently, Morkovcha is a play on Morkovka, which is the Russian word for carrots.
Why Does This Recipe Work?
A few reasons why this recipe has become my go-to recently are:
- This dish is very easy to make. It literally takes 5-10 minutes!
- This salad pairs well with everything.
- All the ingredients required to make Morkovcha are very accessible.
- A very healthy side dish and, at the same time, is pretty appetizing. You will be surprised by how quickly it disappears from everyone’s plates!
What Is In This Korean Carrot Salad Recipe?
Note: This is an overview of the ingredients. See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.
Carrots. Slicing the carrots properly is the key to this dish. You can do it by hand, but it is best to use a Julienne slicer (unless you are a Japanese chef). In case you are a lazy person like me, supermarkets even sell bags of already Julienned carrots!
Garlic. It is responsible for the intense aroma of the recipe.
Seasonings: I use paprika, ground coriander, cayenne pepper, ground black pepper and salt.
Parsley. It will add a touch of peppery taste and lovely color to the dish.
Granulated sugar. Sugar is an optional ingredient. I prefer adding sugar to add a hint of sweetness and make the taste more nuanced.
White vinegar. Vinegar adds a tangy flavor to the salad. Use apple cider vinegar instead.
Olive oil. I like to caramelize the onion before adding them to the salad. This is where olive oil comes into the picture. You can use any oil you prefer.
Onion. I use red onion.
How To Make Korean Carrot Salad (Markovcha)?
One: Peel the carrots. Cut them into thin slices (Julienne them, to be exact).
Two: In a large bowl, mix the carrots and salt, and set it aside.
Three: Pour oil in a skillet, and heat it over medium heat. Once hot, add the onions and sauté until they are brownish and tender.
Four: Turn off the heat. Stir in the minced garlic, and set it aside to cool.
Five: Now, stir in black pepper, paprika, cayenne pepper, coriander, sugar, and vinegar. Mix well.
Six: Pour the mixture over the carrots and toss it until combined. Keep it in the fridge for 1- 2 hours. Add fresh parsley and serve.
- Make sure that the onions are diced as small as possible to maintain the easy-to-eat texture of the dish. This also ensures that they caramelize easily and don’t overpower the salad.
- If you marinate and store the carrots for at least 6 hours before consumption, it will allow all the juices to release from the carrots. This will give you the best flavor profile.
- I keep leftovers for 2-3 days in the refrigerator without losing any of its taste.
- Beetroot is an excellent substitute for carrots. This is a variation that is usually consumed in Indian homes.
This salad is best served cold and it goes well with any form of grilled meat, chicken or fish; It is an ideal side dish for barbequed platters.
More Salad Recipes
Korean Carrot Salad (Markovcha)
- 8 large carrots , julienned
- 1 large onion , diced
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- 6 cloves garlic , minced
- ½ teaspoon ground paprika
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander
- ¼ cup fresh parsley , finely chopped
- Peel the carrots and cut them thinly slices or Julienne.
- In a large bowl, mix the carrots and salt. Set aside.
- Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the onions and sauté until tender.
- Turn off the heat and stir in the minced garlic, and set aside to cool.
- Now, stir in black pepper, paprika, cayenne pepper, coriander, sugar and vinegar. Mix well.
- Pour the mixture over the carrots and toss until combined. Put in the fridge for 1- 2 hours.
- Add fresh parsley and serve.