It’s the middle of April. Haven’t we done the low-carb/keto/paleo restrictive diet thing long enough? It’s time for CARBS. And my Japanese potato salad is here for you. While Japanese Potato Salad has much in common with its Western counterparts, there are some key differences.
If you find traditional potato salad a little boring, I think you’ll be intrigued by this one. Sort of a cross between mashed potatoes and potato salad, the Japanese version has a creamier texture while still retaining crunch from veggies like cucumbers and carrot, and the surprising addition of apple. Of course our beloved Kewpie mayo is a star player. Kewpie makes Japanese Potato Salad a little sweeter and tangier. But just like the potato salad you are familiar with, this makes an excellent picnic item and a delicious side. So if you are ready to throw all caution to the wind and eat potatoes again, let’s go!
Old School Russet Potatoes
While I frequently reach for fancier potatoes like Yukon gold, Russets are your best bet for Japanese Potato Salad. They break down in the cooking process, making them perfect for the partly mashed texture we’re going for here. You can use whatever potatoes you have on hand, but you won’t get the same fluffy and creamy texture we’re aiming for.
Once the potatoes have been boiled and drained, mash them coarsely with the egg and then let’s get going with the other ingredients.
Prep the Rest of the Ingredients
Japanese Potato Salad has a nice balance of veg and fruit to balance out the rich creamy potato. Cucumber is full of water, which is why we scoop out the seeds. Salting and squeezing out the extra moisture is also a technique that is commonly used in Japanese salads and would be welcome here as well. Just taste the salad before adding any additional salt if you are using salted cucumbers.
Carrots add a pop of color and a little sweetness but don’t have a strong flavor that would dominate that salad. You could also use corn or edamame as additions.
We always had fruit in our Japanese Potato Salads growing up. My dad loves mandarins so he would usually put some of the canned mandarin oranges instead of apples in his. I thought it was just a thing in our family, but then I saw fruit added frequently in potato salads in Japan too, so I guess it’s a Japanese thing! In any case, the apple adds a little sweetness and crunch, which is a nice contrast.
Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed, I like a lot of freshly ground pepper in mine. Keep in mind that as the salad chills, the seasoning will mute a bit, so don’t be shy with the salt and pepper.
All Aboard The Carb Train!
Now here is where we are really going to get crazy. While Japanese Potato Salad can of course be savored on its own, or as a yummy side, we like to turn it into SANDWICHES. On soft, squishy white bread. Hey, go big or go home! I cut the crusts off the sandwich for the best texture. These can be made ahead and are a great grab and go snack.
Whether you enjoy it in delightful little sandwiches, or as a side for Korean Fried Chicken I know you’re going to love this Japanese Potato Salad. Rate the recipe and leave a comment down below, and show us your adorable sandwiches @funkyasiankitchen.
- 2 russet potatoes
- 1 teaspoon salt (for boiling potatoes)
- 1 boiled egg, peeled
- 1 small carrot
- ⅓ english cucumber
- ¼ apple (any sweet kind is fine)
- ½ cup Mayonnaise (preferable Kewpie or Japanese style)
- 1 Tablespoon seasoned rice vinegar
- salt and ground black pepper to taste
- Peel the potatoes and cut into large 1 ½ inch pieces. Put the potatoes in a small 4 qt pot and cover with 2 cups of water plus the teaspoon of salt.
- Bring the potatoes to a simmer over high heat and then lower heat to medium high.
- Cook for approximately 15 minutes until the potatoes are soft and cooked through the center (you can use a toothpick or skewer to check).
- Drain the potatoes and return them to the pot along with the boiled egg.
- Use a potato masher and mash the potatoes, along with the egg, very coarsely (probably 4-5 times with the masher is enough). You want a combination of smooth and chunky. Set it aside to cool while you prep the other ingredients.
- Peel the carrot and cut it in half. Then cut it into thin ¼ inch pieces. Put the carrots in a small pot covered with water and bring the carrots to a simmer over high heat. Lower the heat to medium high and simmer for 3-4 minutes until just tender. Drain in a colander and rinse with running water to cool. Set aside.
- Cut the cucumber in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. First cut it into thin wedges lengthwise and then across the cucumber to create small thin slices. Set aside.
- Core the apple and then cut the apple into thirds lengthwise. Cut across the apple, like the cucumber, into small thin slices. Set aside.
- Put the potatoes, cucumbers, apples, and carrots in a bowl with the mayonnaise, and seasoned vinegar. Mix to combine, adding a little more mayo if your mixture needs more moisture. Season with some ground pepper and salt to taste and mix gently.
- Chill for 1 hour until cold. Taste for seasoning (the cold can mute flavors) and adjust with a little salt and pepper as needed. Serve cold as part of a BBQ, as a side dish, or as a filling in a sandwich.
*This potato salad makes excellent sandwiches. Just use a nice soft bread, remove the crusts, and fill with the chilled salad.