I can give you perfect proof that eating carrots will ensure perfect visual acuity – 20/20: have you ever seen a rabbit wearing glasses? Watch this:
Ah, Bugs as Humphrey Bogart, swilling carrot juice, “Here’s to you, baby!”
Carrots are so important to our health and so prevalent in every cuisine in the world that there is even a World Carrot Museum http://www.carrotmuseum.co.uk/ where you can learn all kinds of carrot facts, carrot legends, and carrot trivia. There is one carrot dish, however, that is named after a specific national cuisine – Korean Carrots. Interestingly enough, it is not really a Korean dish, that is , it doesn’t come to us from Korea. It is a staple in every Russian restaurant, especially those specializing in Central Asian cuisine, and is sold in many stores both in post-Soviet Russia and abroad. It was created by Koryo-saram, ethnic Koreans living in Russia, forcibly uprooted by Stalin and deported to Central Asia as “unreliable people.”
Hardworking and resilient, Koryo Saram adapted to their new homes and even adapted their ethnic recipes. Since they could not make kimchi, for lack of Baechu (Nappa) cabbage, they used a vegetable found in abundance – carrots. “Korean” carrot salad has been unknown in Korea until recently, but is very well known internationally, popularized by Russian and Central Asian stores and restaurants.
You have to julienne your carrots. That’s imperative. I’ve tried to make it with grated carrots, as I’ve successfully adapted this recipe to grated beets (see Korean Beet Salad), but it absolutely does not work with carrots. Fortunately, my son gifted me with a spirilizer for Mother’s Day, so now I am spiralizing everything in sight, with different attachments.
This is what you should have: a mess of airy, golden orange, luscious finely julienned carrots. Then you start adding the spicy pickling stuff.
There isn’t much to add, only ginger and garlic. Some apple cider vinegar, and some sugar or xylitol, if you wish. Hot pepper is optional, but I prefer a handful of fresh cilantro.
Mix it all up and place it into a glass, ceramic, or enameled container. Of course you can serve it right away, but if you have a little patience and let it sit in a warm place for a day or so, the carrots will soften, the flavors will blend, and the result will be nothing short of sensational. Meanwhile, enjoy this little Korean carrot song.
Can you believe that something as simple as carrots can create such an exquisite delight on your table?
When you serve it, remember those simple hardworking people, Koryo Saram, who created this delicious salad for us.
- 4 large carrots
- 1 square inch of ginger, grated
- 2 – 3 large cloves of garlic, squeezed
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- A splash of olive oil
- Optional: sugar or xylitol
- Optional: hot pepper
- Julienne carrots.
- Add grated ginger, squeezed garlic, vinegar, oil, salt and pepper. Optional: add sweetener and/or hot pepper.
- Mix thoroughly, cover, keep in warm place for at least 24 hours.
- Mix again before serving. Garnish with fresh cilantro.