Monday, September 3, 2012

Oishii: Japanese Potato Salad

Happy September everyone! When I realized that summer was almost over I had a reflex reaction of regret, then came to my senses and wanted to cheer. Hurray! The long, hot, unbearable summer is about to give way to fall showers, autumnal foliage, cooler weather and coziness. I, for one, am elated. 
So perhaps this post is a bit off-schedule; Japanese potato salad is a a staple in our home all summer long. But I have a feeling that we'll enjoy it a few times more as the seasons transition. After all, it stays quite warm round these parts until October, and frankly, this potato salad is good enough to eat all year long.

You may wonder what the difference is between western-style potato salad and Japanese potato salad and that is a valid question. In short, Japanese potato salad is a sort of summer-inspired mashed potato dish with just enough mayonnaise to make it interesting. PBS has a short article and recipe here. the Just Hungry blog offers another version here. But this is the way mom taught me:

Kumi's Japanese Potato Salad


  • 6-8 potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes (I've used all sorts of different potatoes, even mixed them and it always comes out good. So use whatever you have on hand or whatever your favorite is)
  • 3-4 boiled eggs, chopped
  • 2-3 carrots, peeled
  • 2 apples, cored, quartered and sliced (I like Pink Lady)
  • 1-2 Japanese cucumbers, thinly sliced (Persian cukes also work well - something without big seeds)
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise (Kewpie for the most authentic version, but any brand will do)
  • salt and black pepper to taste

Cook potatoes and carrots (and eggs if you haven't boiled them yet) in boiling water until soft, then drain. Remove carrots and slice into chunks. Mash the potatoes to desired consistency (soft but with a few chunks for texture). Gently fold in all other ingredients and season to taste.

I usually make ours vegetarian style, but I've had it before with chopped ham, which is also delicious.  It is a very forgiving dish and you can make it with fewer or more vegetable/fruit, according to your tastes. We like ours to be bursting with fruit and veggies... 

If you try it, let me know how it worked for you!


Kim said...

I've never had this! It looks delicious and I love the addition of apples. I will have to try this :)

MamaD said...

Do you peel your cucumbers and leave the peel on your apples? I peel my apples and leave the skin on my cucumbers! I just made this a little while ago - one of my cravings. I also loved when Mom would use persimmons in it - or maybe that was the noodle salad she made...

Kumi said...

Annie is right. I peel apple skin, but ORGANIC Pink Lady apple is pretty with skin on. I use slender cukes and do not need to peel skin. (I use my own organic cukes) I think you can adjust whatever you like. Persimmons instead of apples. Use some plain yogurt to reduce calories. Add paper thin sliced mild onion-usually mix with salt and soak in ice-cold water to remove strong taste. etc, etc.

MamaQ said...

Whether or not the fruit is organic determines whether or not I peel the skins. I would prefer to leave the skin on my cukes, but I can't find organic Japanese/Persian cukes anywhere. And unfortunately, they never do well in my garden. I am cucumber-challenged.