Magic Carrots – Magischer Möhrensalat

In Philadelphia, there is a huge Russian supermarket. You can find anything the Russian heart desires here – from pickles to traditional sweets. The first time I came to this market, my eyes widened like a child. I bought everything I possibly try, and this salad, labeled “Magic Carrots” became a particular favorite of mine. Philly being more than an hour away from us, and these trips being more difficult with small children, I decided I had to figure out how to make this recipe myself, coming as close to the original as possible.

My friend Stella and I carefully tasted the dressing to try to figure out what the ingredients were. We decided: mustard seeds, red pepper flakes, garlic, sea salt, white pepper, sesame oil, and rice wine vinegar or white wine vinegar. It’s important to toast the mustard seeds in a pan until they start to hop around the pan and smell toasty, then grind them with a mortar and pestle with the garlic and other dry ingredients into a thick paste. The paste is then stirred with the oil and vinegar for the dressing. The carrots have to be put through a spiralizer, ideally, or failing that, julienned in very narrow strips. I prefer the spiralized version – it looks like spaghetti.

The salad tastes the best when it’s been sitting out for a while at room temperature before serving. You should be able to keep it for a fairly long time in the refrigerator, but at our house it never lasts longer than 2-3 days.

Here is the recipie:



2-3 large, thick carrots
1 garlic clove
1 tsp course salt
½ Tbsp mustard seeds
½ tsp ground white pepper
½ tsp red pepper flakes
3 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
3 Tbsp sesame oil*


  1. Peel the carrots and using a spiralizer tool, cut them into “spaghetti.” The carrot spaghetti can be cut somewhat shorter if the strips are very long, to make it easier to eat. Put to the side.
  2. Roast the mustard seeds in a pan without any oil until they begin to smell aromatic and hop around the pan.
  3. Take the toasted mustard seeds, salt, garlic, and pepper flakes, and grind them into a thick paste with your mortar and pestle. Add the vinegar, oil, and white pepper and stir.
  4. Stir the dressing with the carrot spaghetti and leave overnight in the fridge. Bring to room temperature before serving.

This salad is great to make ahead and bring along to a grill party or as a side dish for fondue or raclette.

* I don’t recommend substituting another type of oil – it will really alter the intended flavor of the salad.


Have fun trying this one! I can’t wait to see your comments!


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