Recipe courtesy of Kathleen Brennan for Food Network Kitchen

Japanese Potato Salad

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 40 min (includes standing time)
  • Active: 25 min
  • Yield: 6 servings
Potato salad is said to have been introduced to Japan more than 125 years ago. Today, it’s as ubiquitous there as it is in the States, but the Japanese version is quite different from what we’re accustomed to here. It always contains mayonnaise, and Japanese mayonnaise, which is richer and tangier than American mayo, is key. There’s also not as much vinegar, so the flavor is sweeter and less acidic. That sweetness is amplified by the addition of various vegetables, such as corn, carrots, peas and cucumber, which also lend texture. Ham, onions, scallions and hard-boiled egg are also common mix-ins, but there are no rules, so use what you have and like. Lastly, the consistency is closer to that of mashed potatoes--creamy, not chunky. Serve it as you would any potato salad. It’s a staple in bento boxes, too.



  1. Cover the potatoes with about 1 inch of cold water in a medium pot and season generously with salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat and simmer until the potatoes are just cooked through, about 10 minutes. Drain, then return the potatoes in the pot to the stove over medium heat and shake occasionally until all the excess water is evaporated, about 10 second.
  2. Transfer the potatoes to a large bowl. Add the vinegar, season with pepper and roughly mash with a potato masher or large fork (some small lumps should remain). Spread the potatoes up the sides of the bowl so they cool faster and set aside for about 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, bring a small pot of water to a boil and season generously with salt.
  4. Toss together the cucumbers and a pinch of salt in a small bowl. Let sit for about 10 minutes, then rinse and firmly squeeze to remove any excess liquid.
  5. Add the corn and carrots to the boiling water and simmer until the carrots are almost tender, about 2 minutes. Drain in a small colander or strainer, then rinse with cold water to stop the cooking. Transfer to a small bowl lined with a folded paper towel to absorb any excess water.
  6. When the potatoes are ready, add the corn, carrots, cucumber and ham and gently stir to combine. Add the mayonnaise, season with salt and gently stir until thoroughly combined, adding a little more mayonnaise, if you like. Check the seasonings, adding more vinegar, salt and/or pepper, as needed. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate until cold. Check the seasonings again before serving.