Russian-Korean Gourmet: Spicy Carrots

Korean Spicy Carrots are like American Chinese food – they are not known in their supposed country of origin, but that doesn’t make them any less delicious. There is a fairly large population of ethnic Koreans in the former republics of what used to be the Soviet Union; many of them live in the Central Asia courtesy of comrade Stalin who thought that they might be thinking of spying for Japan. Sometime between then and now Korean Spicy Carrots were born. The average citizen may not know much about Koreans but there aren’t many people who haven’t tried the carrots. Koreans guard the secret better than the Coca-Cola recipe, but there are many that come close and they are fairly easy to make.
Attention: Do not attempt to change the following recipe. John Dickerson of Bowling Green, MO changed the recipe and was soon beaten, robbed and repeatedly sodomized, his wife left him and he has a confirmed case of the swine flu. Dick Johnson of Butte, MT, didn’t change the recipe, instead sending it to 45 of his closest friends; soon he won the lottery, married Ms.April 2008, and discovered that he is fluent in 6 languages. Make your own conclusions.

For this recipe you will need julienned carrots, ground or crushed coriander seeds, cayenne pepper, vinegar, vegetable oil, onion, garlic and salt (kosher is good). It is very important to have julienne carrots, they look similar to thin long matchsticks. You can learn to do your own, try a special peeler, or do what I do and buy them. The package I have says “shredded”:

…but as you can see on the photo they are square shaped and not flat shreds. Real Koreans manage to have them cut in long almost spaghetti-like strands.

Mix carrots with salt and leave for 20 minutes. The amount of salt should be slightly more than you would use for a regular salad.

In the meantime, in a skillet heat up some oil and place a sliced onion in it. I used 1/2 cup of oil for the amount of carrots I had and that might have been a little much, maybe 1/3 cup will do next time; adjust accordingly with the amount of carrots.

Press as much juice out of the carrots as possible until they look fairly dry.
Construct a volcano-looking mound out of carrots. Place coriander and red pepper into┬áthe “crater” area. I used 1/2 teaspoons of each. Adjust to your own heat tolerance.
Remove onions from the skillet (they should be golden, not burned) and pour almost-smoking oil into the “crater”. Add a splash of vinegar, 2 finely minced (or pressed) cloves of garlic and mix.
Place the carrots in a container and refrigerate for 12-24 hours. Some recipes suggest to chop the fried onions and add them to the mix. I didn’t, I ate some and threw away the rest.
Korean Spicy Carrots can be enjoyed as a salad, pickle-like condiment, on a sandwich, in a taco or with whatever else that may benefit from a spicy kick. Make sure you go easy on heat if you can’t handle it. Enjoy!

Here is another recipe.