I was on the potato salad thread on Vogue Forums when I came across something described as Japanese potato salad. Unknowingly, I had eaten this many times before without making the connection between potato and Japanese to realize it was an actual replicable dish.
The recipe seemed extremely straight forward and I happened to have a bottle of Kewpie Japanese mayonnaise bought for a sashimi party last week. All the ingredients were basics and took no effort at all to collect from the grocery store.
I guess potato salad is one of those things that aren't rigidly set in stone (i.e. allow flexibility to suit your taste) so my execution of this recipe has a few adjustments. Mum made a Shanghainese potato salad a while ago with home-made mayo, potato and Chinese sausage (aka lap chong) and it actually tasted really good. I stole her idea by adding in chopped up lap chong. You could leave this out or replace with ham. I also threw in a tin of corn I found in the pantry.
Japanese Potato Salad
Serves 4-6 as a side
- 1 kg desiree potatoes, peeled and chopped
- 1 med-sized cucumber, sliced thinly
- 1/2 brown onion, chopped finely
- 1 med-sized carrot, grated
- 1 x 125g tin of corn kernels
- 2 x sml lap chong, steamed until translucent and diced finely
- 1/2-1 cup Japanese mayonnaise (I used Kewpie brand)
1. Boil the potatoes in some salted water until cooked (when an inserted chopstick gives little resistance).
2. In the meantime, layer the sliced cucumber and sprinkle with salt. After 10min, squeeze out the excess water and drain well.3. Soak the chopped onion in cold water for around 10min before draining (this removes the bitterness).4. Stir the grated carrot into the potato when it's still hot. Mash the potato around roughly.5. Add the rest of the ingredients and mash. I would add a bit of mayo at a time so you don't go overboard by throwing in 1 cup right up.
6. Chill in the fridge before serving. Japanese potato salad is supposed to be served cold.
I thought this was so easy to pull together. The Japanese potato salad was my contribution for our cooking party and I was basically done before the other dishes were even being prepared. It was relaxing to just sit back and observe everyone else at work.
In terms of taste, I love the creaminess and sweetness of Japanese mayo. It's far less tart than Western mayonnaise and compliments a whole range of things (I love it with sushi, fried pork cutlets and of course, in this potato salad).
The potato salad itself succeeds in the range of textures: softness of nearly-mashed potato, crunchiness of cucumber and onion, chewiness of the sausage and little pops of corn.