Friday, September 21, 2018

Japanese Potato Salad

This Japanese version of potato salad has become my favorite. Smashed potato makes it creamy, intricate technique makes cucumbers crunchy, but not soggy and onion flavorful, but not bitter. Sufficient, but not excessive, seasoning finishes this delicious version of this familiar dish.

Blog's Category: Appetizer, Healthy, Holidays, International, Salads, Vegetarian

You say potato salad is boring? Well, try this Japanese version. Stick to a word in this recipe and you might discover something new and exciting in Potato Salad. There is a specific technique here in handling ingredient, so, don't cut corners and you will end up with a delicious salad you can bring to potluck party, or take at work for a lunch, or have in your fridge as a much desirable snack.

Taste Description

Taste is mild yet satisfyingly delicious. Smashed potato makes it creamy, cucumber and onion are crunchy and flavorful. Just tender, not soft, carrots bring subtle sweetness. Eggs and ham, which are optional ingredients, are supporting actors - this salad is equally great with or without them. Good-quality mayonnaise along with other seasoning are critical ingredients, they finishes up this salad in a best possible way.

How to Serve and Store

Serve it cold. It can be garnished, right before serving, with some fresh herbs, such as parsley, dill, but I don't feel like it is necessary. Can be kept in a fridge for up to 3-4 days without loosing its taste and consistency!


- I don't eat meat, so my version of salad is without ham. Although ham is included as optional ingredient in the instructions below.

- Green peas could also be an optional ingredient, but I didn't try it yet.

- I'm pretty experienced food picture taker and despite the fact that I completely switched to phone camera (I don't think I should be ashamed of it ;) ), usually, I am satisfied with pictures, supporting  a recipes on my blog. Not this time! Weirdly, here my pictures are not telling how delicious this salad is :( 

Japanese Potato Salad

For about 5 servings:
  • 3 potatoes
  • 3 Persian cucumbers (or 1 small English cucumber)
  • 1 small sweet onion
  • 2 carrots
  • 3 slices of ham, diced (optional)
  • 3 boiled eggs (optional)
  • 5 tbs good mayo (Japanese Kewpie is perfect, but not a must)
  • 1/2 tsp of freshly ground black pepper
  • pinch of salt 
- Prepare ingredients. Peel potatoes, dice coarsely and cook in a boiling water until completely cooked. Drain into colander and leave it there to dry up a little bit.

- Peel carrots, slice into quarter-rounds. Throw it into a boiling water and cook for 3 minutes until tender, but not completely soft. Drain into colander and leave it there to dry up or just transfer into kitchen towel to dry up.

- Slice cucumbers in a thin rounds (about 2 mm thick).

Slice onion in a half-rounds.

- Place sliced cucumbers and onions into one bowl, sprinkle with 1 tsp of salt, mix and let it stay for about 5 minutes. Then transfer into colander and rinse under a running water, squeeze and transfer into a towel. Wrap towel around to remove the excess of water. Set aside.

- In a large bowl, roughly smash your potato with a potato masher. Mix in 1 tablespoon of vinegar, black pepper and pinch of salt.

- Add carrots, cucumbers, onion and mayonnaise. Stir everything together just until combined. 

- Add ham and eggs (if using). Taste, adjust salt, pepper and, maybe, a vinegar (although it should be enough vinegar).

- Enjoy!



 Potato should cooked completely, very soft.

 This technique, salt-setaside-rinse-dryup, helps to drain all moisture, bitterness out of vegetables. In this case vegetables won't make salad soggy while still being crunchy. Don't skip this step.

 Here, cooked carrots are drained and transferred on a towel to remove excess of moisture.

 Do not mash potato completely, just enough to still have small pieces of potato here and there.

 After adding vinegar, pepper and salt, taste the potato. It's interesting how, without adding any fats, this seasoning makes potato delicious already.

 Add some more black pepper right before serving!