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

Japanese Potato Salad

1 hour 35 minutes active

Japanese Potato Salad

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 option 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 Japanese mayonnaise made with rice vinegar that is smoother and richer than American mayonnaise. We started by looking for the right potato, which turned out to be Yukon Gold. Salting the cooking water ensured even seasoning as did sprinkling them with vinegar and black pepper as they cooled. Waiting until the potatoes were at room temperature before adding mayonnaise was important 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 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 on the large holes of a box grater
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, thinly sliced
Ingredients
  • 1

    Persian cucumber, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise

  • 1

    medium carrot, peeled and shredded on the large holes of a box grater

  • ¼

    cup minced red onion

  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper

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

  • 3
  • 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, thinly sliced

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Comments
  • Michele R.

    *Appreciated the technique for cooking the potatoes, mashing half, mixing in rice vinegar for prep for this for a great texture at outcome.
    *Ratio of mayo to potato was perfect at the end and the ratio of sugar to mayo just right too. (I'm not a fan of Kewpie mayo and I thought this recipe was much better for their substitution for that ingredient in traditional Japanese potato salads...most of which I've been served at Korean eateries.)
    *Did not make this with the salted veg. I riffed to use a mixture of fresh veg all in small form - grated carrot, small julienned radish, fine diced sweet onion, peeled and fine dice celery, fine chop parsley - along with the eggs and ham and the scallions to finish top per recipe. Result was a good amount more veg by volume than as recipe was written but even at that the mayo proportion as written was just right. And the veg were crisper texture for given they weren't first salt cured.
    *Modified from as written but it was delicious and will go to 'keeper' file. Although next time I would be happy to omit the ham. Or maybe leave it in and omit one or more of the other veg and add in some peas to partner with ham and onion and celery.
    *Benefits from being chilled in fridge at least a couple of hours before serving, it is also good made as far ahead as day before and it travels well if you're taking it along to serve elsewhere.
    *Last note is my Italian heritage and Italian home raised husband has never appreciated mayo based potato salads on the whole, but he really liked this one, had seconds and wanted the leftovers the next day.

    2 votes
    0 comments
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Japanese Potato Salad

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4

Servings

1 hour

35 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 on the large holes of a box grater

  • ¼

    cup minced red onion

  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper

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

  • 3
  • 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, thinly 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 on the large holes of a box grater
¼
cup minced red onion
3
teaspoons salt
pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into ¾-inch pieces

In a medium bowl, stir together the cucumber, carrot, onion and 2 teaspoons salt; 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 a skewer inserted into the potatoes meets no resistance, 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, thinly sliced

Transfer the vegetable mixture to a fine mesh strainer, rinse well and drain. 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 well combined. Taste and season with salt and pepper, then sprinkle with scallions. Serve at room temperature or chilled.


Fold until well combined. Taste and season with salt and pepper, then sprinkle with scallions. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

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Japanese Potato Salad

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