4.05.2011

Korean-Style Carrots (Russian Recipe)

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I've been thinking about making this recipe for years. I even came close several times at the condo. Then I got lazy, or couldn't reach my mom, or something or other, and it never got made. But when the husband came home with a bag of carrots from one of his gardens, I knew the time had come. I called my mom.

I often forget my mom worked in a restaurant. She studied to be a pastry chef, and actually baked for a living. A very short living. I don't think she lasted a year before having her pants charmed right off her, literally, and marrying my dad. Once married, she no longer had to work (sigh) and instead focused on making babies, not cream puffs. Growing up living with my grandmother, who was a cook, and my dad, who when not making the KGB cocktails, also liked to spend time in the kitchen, I often forget about my mom's brief culinary background. That is until she says something like, this is Korean-Style Carrots. I ask her what makes this recipe Korean. She shrugs and says. her cooking instructor had said it was, so there.

She gave me instructions, which were vague and very particular at the same time. The oil must smoke. You must use vegetable oil. You must do this. But when I asked her why, again the answer given was, this is what I was taught. She is militant about not straying from recipes.  When I asked for actual measurements, she had no details. She's been making this salad for so long, she can eyeball all the ingredients. So I did the same, a little unsure about the end result. But, it turns out with enough garlic and oil, it's hard to get things wrong. The salad was delicious. Lasted in a jar for over a week, apparently, it doesn't really go bad for a long time. And since it's rather strong, with the garlic and all, we ate a little at a time. Towards the end, the husband fell in love with it and would eat it straight from the jar, before or after dinner. I guess the Russians know a thing or two about making Korean carrots, although I have yet to come across this dish at a Korean restaurant.
Korean-Style Carrots
Makes a 1 pint jar or so

1 dozen or so small carrots, peeled and cut into matchsticks (use a mandolin)
1 head of garlic, minced
1 tbsp of kosher salt (maybe a bit more)
1-2 tbsp of vinegar, I used fancy champagne, my mom uses regular white
vegetable oil (this you just have to eye, it should be enough to coat the carrots, but not have them be swimming in it)

1) Combine carrots, garlic and salt.
2) Heat your oil in a small pan until it begins to smoke. Then pour oil over carrots.
3) Add your vinegar. Stir well until everything is coated and combined.
4) Place carrots in a jar, let them cool to room temperature and refrigerate.
4) Marinate for at least 2 days and enjoy!

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