Do you remember my post, the story about my childhood Japanese school lunches? One favorite, savory entrée of our school lunch was the Japanese style potato salad. For those of you who are familiar with Japanese bento boxes served at Japanese restaurants, you have seen and tasted the Japanese potato salad served in one of the bento compartments. This potato salad tastes quite different from American potato salad or Salad Olivier. Japanese potato salad has a hint of sweet’n’sour and with crunchy uncooked vegetables such as thinly sliced cucumber, onion, and in some cases, thinly julienned, uncooked carrots and/or apples. Japanese mayonnaise and karashi mustard used tastes quite different than the ones commonly used in the USA. It is the combination of all these ingredients that make this salad’s unique taste and texture. Without any hesitation, Japanese potato salad is my most favorite of all potato salads.
Japanese Potato Salad • ポテトサラダ
Recipe by: Fae’s Twist & Tango (fae-magazine.com)
• 600 g/ 1¼ lb russet potato(es), peeled and cut in about 2.5cm/1″ squares
• 170 g/ 6 oz/ 1 carrot (not very thick), peeled, quartered lengthwise, sliced in 5mm/¼”
• 1½ Tbsp rice vinegar
• 1 Tbsp sugar
• 150 g/ 5 oz/ 1½ Japanese or 3 thin Persian cucumbers
• 60 g/ 2 oz/ ½ small onion
• 60 g/ 2 oz/ 4 thin slices ham, cut in 4 cm/1½” x 5mm/¼” strips (I used black forest ham)
• 4 Tbsp mayonnaise, preferably Japanese version Kewpie mayonnaise 
• ½ tsp Japanese mustard karashi in tube
• 2 large eggs, hard boiled, peeled and cooled
Other common ingredient options
• ¼ cup cooked corn or green peas
• ¼ Fuji apple, with red skin, sliced very thinly and cut in 12mm/ ½” x 5mm/¼” pieces
• ¼ cup Satsuma oranges or tangerine, fresh or drained canned. If using fresh, peel off the inner skin.
 Vegan version: Skip eggs, ham and use vegan mayonnaise, recipe → here.
 These products are found in local Japanese (or usually in Chinese) markets for reasonable prices.
◊ In a medium-sized saucepan, add cut potatoes, cold tap water to cover generously, ¼ tsp salt and bring to a boil. Lower heat and cook for 5 minutes. Add carrots to the cooking potatoes and cook until a skewer goes through a potato piece smoothly (do not over cook for the potatoes to fall apart). Drain well and place in mixing bowl. While still hot, sprinkle sugar and drizzle vinegar evenly, mix well and set aside to totally cool. While mixing, the potato will fall apart, and it is ideal to keep some in chunks.
◊ Using mandolin or knife, with peels on, slice cucumbers very thinly. Place them in a small bowl, sprinkle 1/8 tsp salt and massage in well. Let sit for 10 minutes. (This process is to drain the liquid out of cucumbers.)
◊ Slice onion very thinly along the grain, place in a small bowl and sprinkle with 1/8 tsp salt. Add cold tap water to cover generously. Let sit for 10 minutes. (This process is to drain the liquid and pungent smell out of the onion.)
◊ With hands, tightly squeeze out the liquid from the cucumber slices and add them to the mixing bowl. In a sieve, drain and rinse the marinated onion slices well. With hands, tightly squeeze out liquid and add to the mixing bowl. (To avoid the salad becoming soggy, it is very crucial to squeeze all liquids out of both cucumber slices and onion slices. Use firm paper towel if needed to squeeze out more of the liquid). Add the cut ham to the mixing bowl. Add Japanese mayonnaise and karashi mustard and mix well.
◊ Coarsely chop the boiled eggs and add to the mixing bowl, and gently/briefly combine. Cover the bowl and place in the refrigerator to chill until ready to serve.
~ どうぞめしあがれ • Douzo Meshiagare ~
So, what’s cooking in your kitchen?