Saturday, June 18, 2011

Japanese-Style Potato Salad

This recipe was inspired by the potato salads you would typically find in many a Japanese market here in SoCal. What sets this apart from the standard 'American' fare is the addition of fresh sliced cucumber (instead of pickles) and diced parboiled carrots. I also add chopped ham, which is not a typical ingredient for Japanese potato salads, but I think it adds flavah to the flavor. 

4 large russet potatoes, peeled
2 medium  or 3 small carrots, peeled
1/4 red onion, finely minced (around 1/4 cup)
6 oz. ham, cut into 1/4" dice (around 1 cup)
1 medium Hothouse/English (or Japanese) cucumber, cut in quarters lengthwise & thinly sliced
2 cups or more of regular or light mayonnaise (Best Foods is da best)
6 eggs, hard-boiled & chopped
1 tbsp. vinegar (I use apple cider vinegar)
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
Shichimi togarashi - Japanese spice blend (optional)

1. Place peeled potatoes and carrots into a large stock pot of water, add a couple tablespoons of salt, and bring to a boil. After 15-20 minutes, or when carrots are partially cooked (they should be slightly soft, but still firm), remove to a cutting board. Cut carrots in half lengthwise and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking. Dice carrots and set aside.

2. In the meantime, place eggs in a pan and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Boil for 1 minute, then turn the heat off. Cover pan and let eggs sit for 20-30 minutes. Drain hot water from pan, then add cold water to cool the eggs. Once the eggs are cooled, peel, chop, and set aside.

3. Mince the onions, dice the ham, & slice the cucumber; set aside.

4. When potatoes are tender, remove to a cutting board and cut each potato in half so that they cool faster. Once cool enough to handle, cut the potatoes into 1/2" - 1" dice and place in a large bowl.  Season with 1 tsp. of salt & 1 tsp. of black pepper. 

5. Gently blend in minced onion, diced carrots, cucumber slices, chopped egg and diced ham. Fold in the mayonnaise and vinegar. If the mixture is on the dry side, add a little extra mayo and/or a couple tablespoons of water.

6. Taste and season with additional salt & pepper, if needed. If not serving immediately, cover with plastic wrap and keep refrigerated. This will taste even better the next day. If desired, sprinkle a little shichimi togarashi over the potato salad before serving.

Place 4 large russet potatoes in a large pot of water.

Add 3 small carrots to the pot. Bring to a boil; remove carrots to a chopping board when they are partially cooked (15-20 minutes). Continue cooking the potatoes until they are tender.

Slice the carrots in half lengthwise, the rinse them under cold water to stop the cooking.

Dice the carrots.

Boil 6 eggs.

Cut an English/Hothouse (or Japanese) cucumber in half lengthwise, then thinly slice.

6 oz. of ham.

Dice the ham.

Peel and dice the boiled eggs.

Dice the potatoes and place in a large bowl. Season with  1 tsp. salt & 1 tsp. pepper. 

Gently toss in the minced red onion, sliced cucumber, chopped egg, diced ham 
and diced carrot.

You can use regular, low fat or "light" mayonnaise. And please ignore the Dijon mustard on the right. It's neither here nor there as it's not used at all in this recipe. What was I smoking?

Fold in 2 cups of mayonnaise and 1 tbsp. vinegar.

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