You might not think Potato Salad is Japanese food, but it is! Japanese Potato Salad is similar to American potato salad; semi-smashed boiled potatoes mixed with mayonnaise. Still doesn’t sound like Japanese food, does it? What makes Japanese potato salad Japanese? … the secret is in mayonnaise.
To make ‘Japanese’ Potato Salad, you have to use Japanese mayonnaise. That is the key ingredient. Japanese mayonnaise tastes more tangy and salty, and is very different from American mayonnaise. While mayo is used mainly for sandwiches in the US, it is used almost like a sauce or seasoning for a lot of dishes in Japan. We use Japanese mayo for salad, like potato salad here, but also as a salad dressing. It is packaged in soft bottles, and you can just squeeze it over your green salad (hey, don’t say eew!). We can also use it as a sauce for dipping, a seasoned oil for stir frying and so on.
Another difference of Japanese Potato Salad from American potato salad is having a lot of vegetables in it. We usually use sliced cucumbers, carrots, onions, peas etc., and potato is almost like a binding ingredient for the other veggies. You can also add ham and boiled eggs. Even canned mandarin oranges are in it sometimes too (although a lot of people don’t care for that). It sounds like a whole meal in one dish.
Even though it could be a great dish, often times, Potato Salad is treated as a sad little side dish off in a corner of a bento box. And it is true, a lot of store bought Potato Salad in bentos are not so great. Home made Potato Salad is of course the best!
It is not hard to get Japanese mayonnaise. Just go online, and you’ll be able to make very Japanese Potato Salad that I promise you will love.
- 4-5 potatoes
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp rice vinegar
- 2 small cucumbers
- 1 small carrot
- 2 boiled eggs
- 2-3 slices of ham
- 4-5 Tbsp Japanese mayonnaise
- Peel potatoes and cut into small pieces. Heat water in a pot, and boil potatoes until tender, about 10-15 minutes. Strain and put potatoes in a large bowl. Add 1/2 tsp salt and vinegar, and mash slightly (leave some potato chunks). Let it cool.
- Slice cucumbers to thin rounds, and cut carrots thinly (2" long). In a different bowl, sprinkle a little salt (not in the measurement) over cucumber and carrots, and let it sit for 2-3 minutes. Squeeze out water.
- Cut boiled eggs into small pieces, and cut ham thinly (2" long strips).
- Add vegetables, eggs, and ham to potatoes, then mayonnaise. Mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste.