Creamy and colorful, Japanese Potato Salad is a classic side in casual Japanese cooking used in bento boxes and garnishing dinner plates around the country.

With sweet carrots, crunchy cucumbers, pungent onions and savory ham, this Japanese-style potato salad is colorful and delicious!

While Japan may be famous for sushi, home cooking draws from a broad palette of global flavors. This includes distinctly Japanese takes on foreign dishes like this potato salad. With a rich creamy texture that’s balanced by a mild tartness and sweetness, this easy side makes for the perfect accompaniment for other home-cooking classics such as Karaage, Tonkatsu and Chicken Nanban. If you’re sending a pattern here that’s because potato salad is often served with fried foods in Japan.

So what makes this Japanese? First, the potatoes get cut up relatively small. This not only speeds up their cooking time, but it also makes the spuds fall apart as you mix them with the dressing (think mashed potatoes). The reason for this is that by mashing them together with the dressing, the flavor gets evenly interspersed, ensuring you don’t end up with any bland bites of starchy potato. The one downside is that it makes the texture a bit boring, which is where the other ingredients come to the rescue.

This Japanese style potato salad recipe is easy to make, colorful and delicious.

Quick pickled cucumbers add an emerald green hue and satisfying crunch to each bite. I like to use either Japanese or Lebanese cucumber because they have soft skin and almost no seeds. If you use another variety, you may want to peel and or seed them. Either way, it’s important to salt them first and then squeeze them very well to keep your potato salad from getting soggy.

Although they don’t add any color, onions go in for flavor and a nice crisp crunch. I like to massage them first with a bit of salt before washing them to tame their pungency a bit. Adding carrots in with the potatoes as they boil not only adds a splash of color, they contribute a balancing sweetness to the savory and tart potato salad. If you like your potato salad even sweeter, try adding some chopped apples at the end.

Finally, some pink ham not only rounds out the rainbow of colors but also adds a salty burst of flavor to the potato salad. You can garnish the salad with some sesame seeds or scallions (as I’ve done), but it’s not necessary.

Japanese Potato SaladWhile Japan may be famous for sushi, home cooking draws from a broad palette of global flavors. This includes distinctly Japanese takes on foreign dishes like this potato salad. With a rich creamy texture that’s balanced by a mild tartness and sweetness, this easy side makes for the perfect accompaniment for other home-cooking classics such … Continue reading “Japanese Potato Salad”

Summary

  • CourseSides
  • CuisineJapanese
  • Yield8 servings
  • Cooking Time20 minutes
  • Preperation Time5 minutes
  • Total Time25 minutes

Ingredients

For potato salad
685 grams
potatoes (~2 potatoes peeled and cut into 3/4-inch cubes)
140 grams
carrots (~ 1 carrot, peeled and cut into 1/3-inch cubes)
100 grams
cucumber (~1 Japanese or Lebanese cucumber, sliced)
35 grams
onions (~1/4 small onion
80 grams
ham (cut into 1/4-inch pieces)
For dressing
1/3 cup
mayonnaise
1 tablespoon
rice vinegar
2 teaspoons
sugar
1/2 teaspoon
salt
white pepper (to taste)

Steps

  1. Add the potatoes and carrots into a pot and cover with water with a few inches of water. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat to maintain a simmer. Cook until the potatoes and carrots are tender, but not falling apart (~20-25 minutes)
  2. While the potatoes cook, slice the cucumbers thinly and sprinkle with a generous pinch of salt
  3. Salted onions and cucumbers in stainless steel bowls on a white counter for making Japanese style potato salad.
    Slice the onion thinly and sprinkle with a generous pinch of salt.
  4. Mayonnaise dressing in a glass bowl with blue spatula for Japanese style potato salad.
    To make the dressing for the Japanese-style Potato Salad, add the mayonnaise, rice vinegar, sugar, and salt in a bowl and whisk to combine.
  5. Boiled potatoes and carrots mixed together with dressing for Japanese-style potato salad in a glass bowl.
    When the potatoes are done, drain them well and add them to the dressing. Stir well to combine; it's okay if some of the potatoes get mashed in the process.
  6. Massage the salted onions to get them to release their liquid and then rinse with water. This reduces their pungency. Squeeze the washed onions and add them to the potato salad.
  7. Massage the cucumbers to get them to release their excess water and then squeeze very well. Add to the potato salad.
  8. The best Japanese-style potato salad in a glass bowl on a white counter.
    Add the ham and then stir everything together. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.