Japanese potato salad

Japanese potato salad

Laura Edwards

In some areas, ‘Japanese’ is synonymous with ‘superlative’. Customer service. Trains. Lunch boxes. Therapy robots. Karaoke machines. Beauty found in the sadness of impermanence and imperfection.

And I would add potato salad to that list – Japanese potato salad is just the best. For the uninitiated, it is distinguished by three key components: salty-umami additions such as ham and MSG; thinly sliced crunchy vegetables; and potatoes that are roughed up, almost mashed, to create a light and creamy texture.

By the way, if you can get Kewpie mayo, a Japanese brand that is exceedingly delicious, feel free to use that instead of the mayo recipe provided below.

Less difficult than that other potato salad you make


Quantity Ingredient
1/4 cucumber
1/2 carrot, peeled
500g potatoes, see note
12 quails’ eggs
6 cornichons
2 slices ham, about 60–70 g in total
100g mayonnaise
1/4 teaspoon dashi powder
1/4 teaspoon mustard
pinch freshly ground pepper
1/2 bunch chives, finely chopped


  1. Slice the cucumber and carrot in half lengthways, then slice both very, very thinly – use a mandoline if you have one (watch your fingers!). Sprinkle these with salt and let them sit for about 20 minutes to tenderise, then rinse them under cold running water to remove the salt.
  2. Meanwhile, peel the potatoes and cut into chunks, about 3 cm thick, similar to how you would prepare them for roasting. Transfer to a saucepan, cover with about 2.5 cm water and add a big pinch of salt, then bring to a high simmer and cook until tender to the point of a knife. Remove the taters with a slotted spoon (keep the water) and leave to dry out and cool completely.
  3. Bring the water to a rolling boil and add the quails’ eggs. Cook for 3 minutes and drain, then transfer to cold water to stop the cooking. Peel the eggs and cut them in half. Dice the cornichons and cut the ham into thin strips.
  4. Combine the mayonnaise, dashi powder, mustard, pepper and a pinch of salt. Using a fork or sturdy whisk, mix this into the cooked and cooled potatoes with unnecessary roughness – you want to break up the potatoes and sort of half-mash them to give the salad a fluffy, creamy texture. Mix in the cucumber, carrots, cornichons, ham and quails’ eggs. Taste and adjust the seasoning to your liking, then serve, topped with chopped chives. Perfect with tonkatsu or karaage.


  • Unlike most potato salads, fluffy, floury varieties like Maris Piper or King Edward work best
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