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Korean Carrot Salad (Morkovcha)

by Emily
A closeup shot of Korean carrot salad. The julienned carrots are mixed with spices and cilantro.

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Are you looking for a new and easy vegetable-based dish to add to your lunchbox or outdoor picnic? If so, try making this Korean carrot salad recipe (morkovcha)! This healthy, light, sweet, and tangy side dish has a long and complex history. Learn all about this dish below!

What Is Korean Carrot Salad?

Morkovcha, also known as Korean-style carrots or Korean carrot salad, is a spicy, marinated carrot salad made by combining julienned carrots with onions, garlic, and spices. To make this dish, you cook the onions, garlic, and spices in oil before pouring it over the carrots. Then, you let the mixture marinate for 6-12 hours in a bit of vinegar. 

An overhead shot of a pile of carrots on a cream oval tray.

While called ‘Korean carrot salad’ in English, this dish is rarely cooked or eaten in South Korea. Rather, it is a dish created by Koryo-saram, ethnic Koreans located in post-Soviet countries. This ethnic community created morkovcha during a period when they did not have adequate supplies of baechu (napa cabbage) to make baechu kimchi. The term for this dish comes from a combination of Russian ‘morkov’ meaning ‘carrot,’ and Koryo-mar (a dialect of Korean spoken by the Koryo-saram) ‘cha,’ which derives from Korean ‘chae’ (채) which refers to a variety of salad-like side dishes.

Many Koryo-saram lived throughout Central Asia before they were pushed out during the deportation of 1937. This deportation was a forced transfer of nearly 172,000 Soviet Koreans (Koryo-Saram) from the Russian Far East to unpopulated areas of the Kazakh SSR and Uzbek SSR on the orders of the Soviet Joseph Stalin and Chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars of the Soviet Union Vyacheslav Molotov. Even after deportation, this salad remained a staple for the Koryo-saram. Since then, more recently, it has started gaining international recognition and popularity outside of this ethnic group in recent years as a result of Russo-Koreans’ return migration as well as Koryo-saram immigration to other countries. 

A side shot of a bowl of julienned carrots in a white bowl.

Korean Carrot Banchan Ingredients:

Below, I list the ingredients used to make this delicious carrot side dish. I also linked any informative articles on my site connected to these ingredients:

Korean Carrot Side Dish Ingredients:

A side shot of the julienned carrots. On top of the carrots are all the spices needed for this Korean carrot salad.

Korean Carrot Salad Tips & Tricks: 

Here, I list some helpful tips & tricks to help you make this quick, easy, and healthy Korean carrot salad. If you have any questions, leave a comment below or email me at [email protected]!

  • First, you need to prepare your carrots by julienning them. You can do this either using a knife, a grater, julienne peeler, or a mandoline. If you do not know how, you can follow my step-by-step instructions for using a knife and julienne peeler in my educational post on the subject. 
  • I prefer using gochugaru (Korean red pepper powder) for this dish. If you cannot find it or rather use a different spice, you can use a combination of paprika and cayenne
  • Be careful when pouring all the ingredients over the carrots. The oil, spices, garlic, and onions will be extremely hot. 
  • I recommend waiting overnight before eating this dish. This Korean carrot salad recipe gets even better after a few days!
  • Though optional, I like garnishing my salad with sesame seeds and cilantro (fresh coriander)!
A closeup shot of Korean carrot salad in a white bowl. The salad has julienned carrots, spices, and cilantro.

Korean Carrot Salad Frequently Asked Questions: 

Now that we learned some tips & tricks for making this carrot banchan recipe, I want to answer some questions you may have as well! If I do not answer your question, feel free to leave a comment in the section below or email me at [email protected]

What Does This Carrot Banchan Taste Like?

This Korean carrot salad tastes mildly sweet and tangy. The added species gives it an extra punch of flavor making it the perfect side dish at any picnic. Beyond using this as a side dish, I also like adding it to sandwiches, on top of hotdogs, and more! A little extra crunch always adds so much to a bite! 

Does This Recipe Contain Major Allergens? (Gluten, Soy, Etc.)

Before listing all of the major allergens, I want to state that all of my recipes are naturally gluten-free. On this blog, I only use and recommend gluten-free ingredients and brands. That being said, I list gluten as a potential allergen when necessary– this is because many Korean ingredients (such as soy sauce, gochujang, and doenjang) contain gluten unless you specifically buy gluten-free versions. Not only is this true for gluten, but it is true for other major allergens as well. As such, I always list allergy substitutions in the next section of my post. 

This recipe does not contain 8 of the 9 major allergens. It does not contain: 

  • Tree nuts
  • Peanuts
  • Wheat (Gluten)
  • Soybeans
  • Milk (Dairy)
  • Fish
  • Crustacean Shellfish
  • Eggs

This recipe does contain 1 of the 9 major allergens. It can contain: 

  • Sesame

Allergy Substitutions or Omissions: 

For those with a sesame allergy:

If you have a sesame allergy, you need to omit the optional toasted sesame seeds.

A shot of Korean carrot salad in a large white bowl on the window sill. The salad has julienned carrots, cilantro, spices, and more!

Is This Recipe Vegetarian or Vegan?

Excitingly, this recipe is naturally vegetarian and vegan! 

Where Do I Buy the Ingredients?

You can find almost every ingredient at your local well-stocked grocery store. The only item that may be difficult to find is red pepper powder (gochugaru). While sometimes available on the spice aisle, you may need to visit your local Asian or Korean grocery shop for this ingredient. If you do not have one in your area, you can find gochugaru online.

Where to Buy Korean Ingredients Online? 

Nowadays, there are many online options to choose from to order Korean food online. These websites are not limited to but include:

  • Amazon
  • H-mart
  • Hanpoom
  • Wooltari 

How Do I Store Leftovers?

To store this leftover carrot side dish, place it in an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator. Then, you can enjoy it throughout the week! 

A shot of Korean carrot salad in a large white bowl on the window sill. The salad has julienned carrots, cilantro, spices, and more!

I Hope You Enjoyed Learning How to Make This Korean Carrot Salad Recipe (Morkovcha)!!

In the end, I hope you enjoyed learning how to make this delicious and healthy Korean carrot salad recipe! If so, let me know in the comment section! Also, let me know if you have a favorite carrot recipe you cook and eat at home! 

If you would like to read more about cooking, you can find further recipes on this blog. I listed some of my favorite Carving A Journey recipes below! For reference, many recipes are influenced by my family’s blended Korean and Southern heritage.

Further Carving A Journey Recipes:

If you have any questions or comments, you can also email me at [email protected].

And, finally, I would love to hear from you through our social media as well! You can follow me at @carvingajourney on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. I also started a vlog YouTube channel with my husband! Or, if you would like more articles like these, you can subscribe to the blog by joining the mailing list. Let me know if you try making this Korean carrot salad recipe! Thank you so much for stopping by!

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Korean Carrot Salad (Morkovcha)

5.0 from 1 vote
Recipe by Emily Course: Recipe Index, Side DishesCuisine: Korean, Russo-KoreanDifficulty: Easy
Servings

8

servings
Prep time

20

minutes
Cooking time

10

minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 Ibs Carrots

  • 1 1/2 TBSP White Vinegar

  • 4 Garlic Cloves, Minced

  • 1/2 TBSP Sugar

  • 1/2 TSP Ground Coriander

  • 1 TSP Salt

  • 1/4 TSP Gochugaru

  • 1/4 TSP Cayenne

  • 1/2 TSP Black Pepper

  • 1/3 Cup Olive Oil

  • 1/2 Yellow Onion, Minced

  • Optional: Toasted Sesame Seeds (Garnish)

  • Optional: Cilantro (Garnish)

Directions

  • Wash and peel your carrots. Then, julienne the carrots using your knife, julienne peeler, or mandoline.
  • Add all the ingredients to the julienned carrots except for the olive oil and minced onions. Set aside.
  • Heat oil and minced onions in a small saucepan until hot but not smoking. Then, carefully pour the oil over the carrots. Finally, toss the mixture well.

  • Let the mixture marinate in the refrigerator for 6-12 hours. Then, eat!

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