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A sharper, brighter, and crunchier potato salad from Japan
Milk Street Bowtie Japanese Potato Salad

Japanese Potato Salad

1 hour 15 minutes active

Free

Getting potato salad right is no picnic. Too often it lacks the acidity or piquancy needed to cut through the richness of the mayonnaise. Our search for a better spud salad led us to Japan, where potato salads are partially mashed to create a creamier texture. And they balance that texture with crumbled hard-boiled egg and the crisp bite of vegetables, such as cucumber and carrots. Tying everything together is Kewpie, a style of Japanese mayonnaise made with rice vinegar. At Milk Street, we started by looking for the right potato, which turned out to be Yukon Gold. Salting them during cooking seasoned them nicely, as did sprinkling them with vinegar and black pepper as they cooled. It was important to wait until the potatoes were at room temperature before adding mayonnaise to avoid oiliness. We used American mayonnaise but approximated the Kewpie flavor by increasing the vinegar and adding an extra hard-cooked egg yolk and 1 teaspoon of sugar. For a savory touch, we added diced ham and finished with scallions.

1 Persian cucumber, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
1 medium carrot, peeled and shredded
1/4 cup minced red onion
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
1 1/2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into ¾-inch pieces
3 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 ounces thick-cut smoked deli ham, diced (about ⅓ cup)
1 hard-cooked egg plus 1 hard-cooked egg yolk, diced
1 teaspoon white sugar
2 scallions, finely sliced
Ingredients
  • 1

    Persian cucumber, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise

  • 1

    medium carrot, peeled and shredded

  • ¼

    cup minced red onion

  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper

  • pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into ¾-inch pieces

  • 3

    tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar

  • ½

    cup mayonnaise

  • 2

    ounces thick-cut smoked deli ham, diced (about ⅓ cup)

  • 1

    hard-cooked egg plus 1 hard-cooked egg yolk, diced

  • 1

    teaspoon white sugar

  • 2

    scallions, finely sliced

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Japanese Potato Salad

Get Ready to Cook

4

Servings

1 hour

15 minutes active

Tip

Don’t substitute starchy russet or waxy new potatoes. The smooth texture of partly mashed Yukon Golds gave us the creamy consistency we wanted.

Ingredients
  • 1

    Persian cucumber, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise

  • 1

    medium carrot, peeled and shredded

  • ¼

    cup minced red onion

  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper

  • pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into ¾-inch pieces

  • 3

    tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar

  • ½

    cup mayonnaise

  • 2

    ounces thick-cut smoked deli ham, diced (about ⅓ cup)

  • 1

    hard-cooked egg plus 1 hard-cooked egg yolk, diced

  • 1

    teaspoon white sugar

  • 2

    scallions, finely sliced

Step 1 of 3

Combine the vegetables and cook the potatoes

1
Persian cucumber, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
1
medium carrot, peeled and shredded
¼
cup minced red onion
3
teaspoons salt
pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into ¾-inch pieces

In a medium bowl, combine the cucumber, carrot, onion and 2 teaspoons of salt, mixing until evenly coated; set aside.


In a large saucepan over high, combine the potatoes with enough water to cover by 1 inch. Add 1 teaspoon of salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-high and simmer until tender, 12 to 15 minutes.

Step 2 of 3

Mash the potatoes and stir

3
tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
¾
teaspoon pepper

Drain the potatoes, then transfer to a large bowl. Using a fork, coarsely mash half of the potatoes. Sprinkle with the vinegar and ¾ teaspoon of pepper.


Stir to combine, then spread in an even layer along the bottom and sides of the bowl. Let cool for at least 20 minutes.

Step 3 of 3

Strain the vegetables, add the ham & eggs, and combine

½
cup mayonnaise
2
ounces thick-cut smoked deli ham, diced (about ⅓ cup)
1
hard-cooked egg plus 1 hard-cooked egg yolk, diced
1
teaspoon white sugar
2
scallions, finely sliced

Transfer the vegetable mixture to a fine mesh strainer and rinse well. Working in batches, use your hands to squeeze the vegetables, removing as much liquid as possible, then add to the potatoes.


Add the mayonnaise, ham, whole egg and yolk, and the sugar. Fold until thoroughly combined. Taste and season with salt and pepper, if necessary. 


Sprinkle with scallions, then serve chilled or at room temperature.

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