Call me a potato salad snob but I can’t stand the commercially made stuff that’s sold by the kilo in takeaway tubs. The oddly uniform cubes of potato are often undercooked and don’t get me started on the mayo they’re bathed in. Blechh!! Mind you, I was spoiled as a child where potato salad was concerned. Ahh… Japanese potato salad…
Like all good Germans, my father revered the mighty potato and my mother ensured that she treated it accordingly. Her mashed potatoes were fluffy and tasty, and for barbecue parties, she produced a giant bowl of potato salad which elicited much delight from our Australian guests. It was like they never had decent potato salad before!
Although I do love a zesty German-style potato salad, I was most happy when my mother made the creamier Japanese version. It’s so good that it’s even a popular sandwich filling in Japan. If ever you need to engage in carb-loading, then that’s the meal for you!
To me, a couple of things make the Japanese potato salad awesome. Firstly, need I say more than Kewpie Mayonnaise? This is the stuff you spread all over an average meal to make it amazing. It’s worth keeping in the fridge, let me tell you. The other thing is the addition of thinly sliced cucumber and gently cooked carrots to provide some textural relief from the stodgy potato.
The next time you’re tempted to buy potato salad, have a try making your own with this recipe. Even if you don’t have Kewpie Mayo on hand (even Coles sell it these days), you can still make a pretty tasty version with some substitutions :)
- 4 medium potatoes, scrubbed and quartered (no need to peel if scrubbed clean)
- 1 carrot, peeled and cut into small (1.5 cm pieces)
- 1 Lebanaese cucumber or ½ Continental cucumber (sliced thinly, preferably with a mandolin)
- 1 piece of spring onion, chopped finely (or ¼ brown onion, sliced thinly)
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar (you can opt to use white wine vinegar instead for a zing, or leave out)
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp Japanese mustard (karashi) or Dijon/Whole Seed Mustard (Optional)
- 1tsp salt
- ⅓ cup Kewpie Mayo or traditional style mayo like S&W Whole Egg Mayo (I use a blend of Kewpie and S&W Low Fat)
- pepper to taste
- Bring a pot of water to boil and add potato pieces. Cook for 10-12 minutes or until a sharp knife goes through a potato piece with no effort. Drain potatoes and set aside to cool.
- Prepare cucumber and spring onion and set aside. Bring small amount of water to a high simmer and add carrot pieces, cooking for about two minutes. The carrots should not be soft but tender enough to bite through easily. Drain and set aside.
- Combine mayo, sugar, salt, rice vinegar, mustard and pepper in a small bowl and set aside.
- Peel potatoes (skin should virtually fall off), roughly chop into 2cm pieces and place in a large serving bowl. Once all of the potato is chopped, either use your clean hands or a large spoon or fork to smash the potatoes a little. Don't overdo it!
- Add cucumber, carrots and onion and pour the mayo mixture over the top. Use a large spoon to combine all ingredients well.
- Season further with salt and pepper if required. Refrigerate until ready to serve.