Japanese Potato Salad

Main Photo Jap Salad edited re-sized

My first introduction to a different style of Potato Salad goes way back to the days when the coffee house at Holiday Inn along Scotts Rd served a large frankfurter with sauerkraut and German Potato Salad. I liked that side dish as it did not have the strong taste of mayonnaise. During our stay in Tokyo, the Japanese style Potato Salad was the next type of potato salad which caught the attention of my taste buds even though I had suspected that it did contain quite a bit of mayonnaise. Events took precendence over many things and I quite forgot about it till my sweet god-daughter bought me “Harumi’s Japanese Home Cooking by Harumi Kurihara”. Viola. Memories were triggered.

I have made small adjustments to her recipe by the addition of tahini and Japanese mustard for a slightly more robust taste and nutrition. Click here for Home-made Tahini. Harumi’s Pari Pari Style Chicken goes very well with this salad. Click here for that recipe

Ingredients

Step 1. Heat water in steamer till it is on rolling boil. To save time, I place washed potatoes in the steamer and in the centre the sliced carrots sit a perforated colander. After 5 mins, sliced carrots are tender. Remove colander and cool carrots. Continue to steam potatoes for another 15 to 20 minutes over a medium heat, taking care to top up the water from time to time as needed. Prick the potatoes with a toothpick or skewer to see if cooked and remove when done.

Peel the potatoes when they are cool. Cut into large chunks.

Step 2. Cut the cucumber in half lengthways and remove the seeds. Cut each half again lengthways and then slice into 5 mm thick pieces. In a separate bowl, sprinkle salt over the cucumber and leave for about 2-3 mins to soften, then squeeze to remove excess liquid.

Step 3. Cut the onion in half, slice and soak in water to remove its pungent taste, then drain and pat dry.

Step 4. In a separate bowl, smash the half chicken cube with the back of the spoon. Stir to gradually mix in the Tahini, Japanese mustard and mayonnaise. If you don’t have any tahini at home, please omit this and replace with same amount of mayonnaise. Tahini gives more nutrition to this salad.

Step 5. Put all the prepared vegetables into a large mixing bowl, topping it with the ready mixed dressing.  Mix dressing well so that all vegetables are coated. Then, the hard boil egg chucks are lightly folded into the salad. Photo shows a pack of bonito flakes which can be used later on as a garnish (optional).

RECIPE

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients:

  • 650 gm potatoes, steamed, peeled + cut into large chunks
  • 200 gm carrots, peeled, sliced + steamed
  • 50 gm onion, peeled, sliced, soaked + drained
  • 120 g cucumbers, Centre removed + sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, for cucumbers

Dressing

  • 1/2 piece of chicken cube
  • 1 cup mayonnaise (200 ml)
  • 1 Tbsp Tahini (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp Japanese mustard powder or English mustard
  • salt, to taste
  • ground, to taste

Method

1. Heat water in steamer till it is on rolling boil. To save time, I place washed potatoes in the steamer and in the centre the sliced carrots sit a perforated colander. After 5 mins, sliced carrots are tender. Remove colander and cool carrots. Continue to steam potatoes for another 15 to 20 minutes over a medium heat, taking care to top up the water from time to time as needed. Prick the potatoes with a toothpick or skewer to see if cooked and remove when done.

Peel the potatoes when they are cool. Cut into large chunks.

2. Cut the cucumber in half lengthways and remove the seeds. Cut each half again lengthways and then slice into 5 mm thick pieces. In a separate bowl, sprinkle salt over the cucumber and leave for about 2-3 mins to soften, then squeeze to remove excess liquid.

3. Cut the onion in half, slice and soak in water to remove its pungent taste, then drain and pat dry.

4. In a separate bowl, smash the half chicken cube with the back of the spoon. Stir to gradually mix in the Tahini, Japanese mustard and mayonnaise.

5. Put all the prepared vegetables into a large mixing bowl, topping it with the ready mixed dressing.  Mix dressing well so that all vegetables are coated. Then, the hard boil egg chucks are lightly folded into the salad. If you so wish, garnish the salad with a small topping of bonito flakes and serve.

Serving Suggestions

Most Japanese meals at home consists of rice and soup with some dishes (usually one is raw, one is simmered, and one is grilled). If you are also having guests, another dish which is deep-fried is added and the crockery is much more ornate and of finer porcelain and lacquer.

The meal is always served with green tea and fresh fruit.

Consider any one or more of the recipes listed below for a complete nutritious tasty Japanese meal. Purchase a plate of sashimi and/or sushi to accompany your servings. This  will impress both family and guests alike.

1. Quick Miso Soup and Brown Rice with Barley. Click here.

2. Yawata Maki. Click here.

3. Tofu no Shira -ae. Click here.

4. Chawan Mushi. Click here.

5. Simmered Pumpkin. Click here.

6. Pari Pari style Chicken Wings. Click here.

Japanese have an affinity to desserts and the first 2 have become ubiquitous to their cuisine.

1. Caramel Custard  Click here.

2. Almond Jelly and Longans. Click here.

3. Ginger Poached Pears. Click here.

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