Korean Salad Unknown in Korea
Korean-style carrot salad is another phenomenon of Soviet cuisine and my favorite way of eating carrots. Julienned carrots are seasoned with salt (and sugar, if needed) and quickly marinated with spices, chili peppers, vinegar, and vegetable oil. Due to its popularity all over former Soviet republics and now internationally, there are variations for spices, the level of heat from chili peppers, for kinds of vinegar and oils to use, and whether oil should be cold or hot. This recipe is my family version adapted to local, not very sweet carrots.
How to Julien Carrots
European and Asian chefs knives (see videos in Recipe Notes section) are the most common professional tools to julienne vegetables, but they require knife skills. Home cooks prefer mandolines and slicers. My favorite tools are Kuhn Rikon julienne mandoline (for shorter vegetable noodles) and Benriner Turner Slicer or Benriner Cook Helper Slicer (for longer vegetable noodles). Both have their cons and pros in terms of safety and efficiency. Cut resistant gloves are highly recommended when using Kuhn Rikon handheld mandolines to keep fingertips safe. Other than that, they are compact, easy to use, and easy to clean. Benriner turning slicers are more safe, but they work better with large and thick carrots. Medium blade makes beautiful noodles. For some people, it takes time and efforts to figure how to use these slicers correctly. I have a few classes with turning slicer featured among other tools. Come to learn and practice using it.
How to Serve Korean-Style Carrot Salad
Adjust the heat to your preference and eat it as a salad. My number one choice is to eat it on a slice of toasted bread with a little bit of mayo. If I use bite-size toasts, it makes beautiful vegan/vegetarian appetizer that whets my guests appetite to the main meal. Combining Korean-style carrots with other vegetables, often blanshed or grilled, makes more great salads and appetizers. In that case, spiced carrots work as seasoning as well as an additional element with slightly crunchy texture. I like mixing them with blanched green beans or cooked giant Lima beans. Grilled eggplants, peppers, zucchini also pair with this carrot salad really well.