Updated: Sep 30, 2021
People tend to equate Japan with rice but potatoes (Imo as the Japanese call them) are a big part of the food culture. I remember looking forward to "imo hori" or potato digging on my auntie's vegetable patch when I was a child.
Once the potatoes are dug, one of the favourite ways to eat them in Japan is in a potato salad. Now, potato salads are well known the world over and come in all manner of varieties but I like to think the Japanese version is up there with the best of them. It's also great to eat at any time of year.
In this recipe, the potato is boiled and lightly mashed - I use the back of a spoon or a fork - you don't want a puree here - bits and lumps are good! Then, the mash is combined with sliced raw onion, cucumber and carrot and then seasoned with mayonnaise (I think the Japanese brand "Kewpie" is great in this salad but other brands work well too) , lemon juice, salt and pepper.
The onion is prepared by immersion in one or two or changes of water to draw out the astringent flavour but retain the crunch. The carrot & cucumber are salted for a few minutes and then squeezed to draw out the liquid - nobody likes a watery potato salad, do they?
What you get, is a rich, tangy flavoured salad with a creamy but crunchy texture - Everyone seems to love this salad & it's a great way to get kids to eat their veg. There are different versions of this salad with ham and boiled eggs to name but two but I prefer it as a veggie dish with nothing else added - but once you've made it, why not experiment and find your unique combination!
If you'd like to make this, you can find the Youtube tutorial by clicking Japanese Potato salad or scroll to the bottom of the page. The written recipe is just below. Salad days are here again...well, almost!
Happy cooking, Kurumi XXXX.
If you like this, then you might just like my Sweet Potato salad. Why not take a look?
Japanese Potato salad
(makes 2 servings)
1/4 red onion
5 tbsp Kewpie mayonnaise*
1 tsp lemon juice
1 little pepper
1 tbsp cress
2 leaves of lettuce
*if you can’t find Kewpie mayo, try another brand instead.
peel and cut the potatoes into small chunks. put the potato chunks in a pan and cover with water. boil for 12-15 mins or until softened then drain
peel the carrot & quarter lengthways, then thinly slice
quarter the cucumber lengthways, slice off the seed stem (which prevents the salad
becoming too watery) and thinly slice the cucumber
put the carrot & cucumber in a bowl, sprinkle with 1/2 tsp salt, mix well and leave for 10 mins
peel & thinly slice the red onion, cover with water in a bowl and leave to soak for 10 mins, changing the water once or twice
squeeze the excess water from the carrot, cucumber & onion
roughly mash the potato in a bowl, add the vegetables to the potato, add the mayonnaise, lemon juice, salt & pepper to taste and mix well
your potato salad is ready! serve on the lettuce leaves, lastly sprinkling with the cress