Potato salad, in many forms, is a popular side dish in countries around world. I’ve always been a big fan- I love the creamy texture of the potatoes with the crispness of celery (or pickles in some cases). Potato salad is a sure sign that warmer months are upon us. I’ve always known potato salad to be a Midwestern/Southern favorite in the United States, but was shocked to find that it is just as popular in Japan. My first clue should have been the crazy obsession with mayonnaise. It’s amazing! If they can put mayo in it, on it, or under it, the Japanese will do it. Not that I’m complaining, but enough is enough. I can only take so much!
OK. Back to potato salad… So I was thinking about how much I love potato salad when it occurred to me that tonight would be the perfect time to whip some up. It had already been decided that we were grilling hamburgers, and so it seemed the natural side dish to choose. Instead of making the typical potato salad that my mom makes (and I absolutely love, for the record) I wanted to make it more reminiscent of the Japanese version. I found a great, easy to follow recipe on JapanEats.tv and got to work!
I made a few changes to the recipe based on the ingredients that I had on hand, and I didn’t peel the potatoes (because I like it that way) but it turned out quite well! And actually, you may want to call it a Japanese inspired potato salad. Although it does taste similar to what I’ve had in bento boxes.
What’s your favorite summer side dish? Does it have different variations from other countries? I’d love to hear your ideas!
Japanese Potato Salad
Adapted from JapanEats.tv
Serves 6-8 as a side dish
1 pound small red potatoes (or other small potato)
1 seedless cucumber, thinly sliced (just under 1 cup)
1/3 cup thinly sliced red onion
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon hot & sweet mustard or wholegrain mustard
salt and pepper
Cut the potatoes into quarters and place them in a large pot. Fill the pot with cold water until it just covers the potatoes. Add about 1 teaspoon of salt, cover and bring to a boil over high heat. When the water begins boiling, turn the heat down and continue cooking until the potatoes are easily punctured with a toothpick or knife.
While the potatoes are cooking, place the onion in a bowl of water and soak for 3 minutes. Place the cucumber slices in a small bowl and sprinkle with a couple pinches of salt, rubbing the salt in a bit with your hands. Use paper towels or a clean dish/tea towel to wring the extra water out of the onions and cucumber.
Strain the potatoes when they are done cooking and put them in a large bowl. Gently mash the potatoes slightly with a large spoon or spatula, keeping most of the potatoes in their original shape. Add the cucumber, onions, and a bit of salt and black pepper. Mix together gently. Add the mayonnaise and mustard. Stir until thoroughly combined and season with additional salt and pepper if desired.