It’s Memorial Day Weekend so I’m browsing the internet for Japanese Potato Salad recipes. I LOVE Japanese potato salad. After years of bypassing bland potato salads at potlucks and barbecues, I was totally ready to hate the ubiquitous Japanese version.

Don’t make that mistake. Somehow the combination of mashing the potatoes, the magical alchemy of Japanese mayonnaise, and rice vinegar make this potato salad delish. And adding carrots or peas or cucumbers just makes it healthier! So bonus!

Usually I head over to Just One Cookbook as a basis for my Japanese recipes.  However, this time, I felt that her version wasn’t quite the basic recipe I was looking for. I headed to Serious Eats instead (that’s their photo up top).

Their recipe calls for “semi-mashed” potatoes. I must confess I like “all the way” mashed potatoes for my salad.  I also don’t usually put in the hot mustard, but that’s your call. I usually season mine with: salt, pepper, rice vinegar and today’s 1 special ingredient: Japanese Kewpie Mayonnaise.

It’s worth it. Get the Kewpie Mayonnaise. No, I’m serious, don’t try this with American mayonnaise, or (shudder) miracle whip. It is most definitely NOT the same.

  • 1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, about 3 large potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 Persian cucumbers or one english hothouse cucumber, thinly sliced crosswise
  • 2-6 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
  • 6 tablespoons Japanese mayonnaise, such as Kewpie
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot mustard
  • 1 small carrot, quartered and thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 scallion, white and light green parts only, chopped

Dump chopped potatoes in cold/room temperature water and salt the dickens out of it. Boil for about 10 minutes or until potatoes are fork-tender. Drain.

Mash the potatoes with fork or masher until consistency you like. Traditionally, you leave some small chunks, but as I said before, I like mostly smooth. Mix in vinegar, salt, pepper, mustard, and mayonnaise until you have a creamy, tangy flavor that suits your taste.  Attempt not to keep taking bites to “check” if its okay.

Meanwhile, slice the  cucumbers thinly.  Here’s where my laziness differs from the official recipes. I just mix in the cucumbers at this point. But most recipes say you should put them in a bowl and sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon salt. Mix well, then let stand for 10 minutes. Drain any accumulated water, then gently squeeze cucumbers with paper towels to blot up any excess liquid. But, you know, whatever.

Add whatever else you’re putting in there: carrots, scallions and onions in this recipe. In other recipes you’ll find hardboiled eggs, chopped ham, peas…whatever floats your boat. Eat it right away and its delicious. I probably will keep for a few days in the fridge, but it’s definitely best served right after you mix the creamy mayonnaise and tangy vinegar in.

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