Japanese potato salad: a creamy potato salad of partially mashed potatoes dotted with crunchy carrots, cucumbers and scallions, and tossed with a zesty mustard-vinegar-mayo dressing. A great side dish for picnics, summer grilling and the outdoor entertaining season.
For The Potatoes and Vegetables
- 2 pounds Russet or Yukon Gold Potatoes, peeled and cut into 4 or 5 equal sized chunks.
- 1/2 of a small English cucumber, sliced in half lengthwise, seeds scraped out with a small spoon, each half sliced lengthwise and then thinly sliced crosswise.
- 1 large carrot, peeled, sliced into halves or quarters lengthwise (depending on the thickness) and then thinly sliced crosswise.
- 4-5 scallions, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced crosswise
For The Dressing
- 2/3 cup mayonnaise (I use Hellmann's but see notes)
- 2 tablespoon Japanese rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon spicy English mustard or Karashi (Japanese spicy mustard)
- 1 1/2 teaspoon Maldon salt or more, to taste (or any sea salt or coarse salt)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or more to taste
- Place the potatoes and one teaspoon of salt in a pot and cover with cold water by by an inch. Bring to a boil and cook potatoes for 15 minutes or until tender when poked with a fork. Drain potatoes in a colander. Transfer them to a large mixing bowl and let them cool for 15 minutes or so.
- Blanch sliced carrots in salted boiling water for 2 minutes to soften them a bit. Drain carrots in a colander and run under cold water over them to stop the cooking process. Let them sit in the colander for a few minutes, until dry.
- Whisk all the dressing ingredients: Mayo, vinegar, mustard, salt, sugar, and pepper.
- Mash the potatoes with a fork, leaving some small chunks for texture. Add carrots, cucumbers, scallions and half the dressing to the bowl. Toss gently to combine. Add more dressing, tossing, until you get the desired consistency. You may not need all the dressing. Correct the seasoning with salt and pepper, to taste. Chill until ready to serve. The salad can be made up to a day ahead and stored in the fridge.
Scraping the seeds out of the cucumbers is an important step because the seeds are very watery and will make your salad soggy.
Authentic Japanese potato salad calls for Japanese Kewpie mayonnaise but because MSG is a key ingredient in Kewpie Mayo and many people are sensitive to MSG, I've chosen to use Hellmann's Mayo instead. I'm extremely happy with the flavors using Hellmann's but feel free to substitute Japanese Kewpie Mayonnaise if you like.
[This post first appeared on Panning The Globe in May 2018. It was updated in May 2020 with new photos and a few tweaks to the written post.]
- Prep Time: 15 mins
- Cook Time: 25 mins
- Category: Side Dish
- Method: stovetop
- Cuisine: Japanese
Keywords: Japanese style potato salad with carrots cucumber and scallions