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4.78 from 9 votes
Japanese potato salad is like semi-mashed potatoes mixed with vegetables, ham, egg and mayonnaise. Small pieces of carrots, cucumbers, onions, ham and eggs make it visually appealing. It is not too creamy, not too rich, but flavoursome. What makes this potato salad stand out is the mushy texture and the famous Japanese mayonnaise, Kewpie mayonnaise.
Japanese Potato Salad
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
35 mins
Total Time
45 mins
Japanese potato salad is like semi-mashed potatoes mixed with vegetables, ham, egg and mayonnaise. Small pieces of carrots, cucumbers, onions, ham and eggs make it visually appealing. It is not too creamy, not too rich, but flavoursome. Please note: Cooking time assumes that the time to boil potatoes is 20 minutes.
Recipe Type: Salad
Cuisine: Japanese
Serves: 4
Author: Yumiko
Ingredients (tbsp=15ml, cup=250ml)
  • 800g (1.8lb) starchy potatoes (note 1)
  • 90g (3.2oz) cucumber
  • 90g (3.2oz) onion
  • 90g (3.2oz) carrot
  • 50g (1.8oz) thinly sliced ham (note 2)
  • 2 boiled eggs
  • 6 tbsp Kewpie mayonnaise
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • Pepper (white pepper preferred)
  • Salt
To Serve
  • Green leaf lettuce leaves
  1. Put potatoes in a saucepan and add water to cover the potatoes sufficiently. Turn the heat on high and bring to a simmer.
  2. Cook potatoes until a bamboo skewer or a thin knife can get through to the centre of the potatoes easily. This will take 15-40 minutes depending on the size of the potatoes (note 3).
  3. Slice cucumber thinly into 2mm (1/16”) slices (note 4). Sprinkle with a pinch of salt over the cucumber slices and leave them for 10 minutes. The cucumber should become wet and soft. Rinse and squeeze out excess water.
  4. Cut the onion in half crosswise, then slice as thinly as possible lengthwise. Sprinkle a pinch of salt over the onion slices and leave them for 10 minutes. Rinse and squeeze out excess water.
  5. Cut the carrot into quarters lengthwise (note 5), then slice 2mm (1/16”) thick perpendicular to the initial cut. Boil the carrot slices in a small saucepan for few minutes until tender. Drain.
  6. Cut sliced ham into about 3cm x 5mm (1⅛” x ⅜”) pieces.
  7. Dice boiled eggs into 5mm (3/8”) cubes (note 6).
  8. When the potatoes are cooked, drain into a colander. Peel the potatoes immediately and place them into the saucepan just emptied. It is very hot so use a cloth or layers of kitchen paper to hold the potatoes.
  9. Using a potato masher, mash the potatoes half way leaving some chunks of potatoes. Then cool down to at least close to room temperature.
  10. Add cucumber, onion, carrot, mayonnaise, mustard, freshly ground pepper (few twists) and a couple of pinches of salt to the potato. Using a round wooden spoon, mix well.
  11. Reserve a tablespoon of cubed boiled egg for decoration, add the rest of the boiled egg to the potato and gently mix.
  12. Place a mound of potato salad on a serving plate or in a bowl with green leaf lettuce on the side. Sprinkle the remaining boiled egg over the potato salad.
Recipe Notes

1. Starchy potatoes are best suited to this dish as they become nice and fluffy when cooked. The best to use are Russet (common in the US), Dutch Creams, King Edward or Red Delight. However, great all-purpose potatoes like Golden Delight, Coliban, Red Rascal and Sebago (popular in Australia) still work great.

2. Ham can have different names depending on the country. As long as the ham does not require cooking, is not smoked, not like salami and not sweet, then you can use any kind of ham.

3. If you are running out of time and have large potatoes, then you could peel and cut the potatoes into quarters or 6 pieces to boil. This should reduce the boiling time significantly.

In this case, I would strongly recommend that you dry the boiled potatoes to remove excess moisture by placing the drained potatoes back in the saucepan over high heat and shaking the pan for 15 -20 seconds. The moisture should evaporate and the corners of the potatoes will start breaking and become mushy. Be careful not to burn the potatoes.

4. I used Lebanese cucumber the diameter of which is about 3cm (1⅛”). If your cucumber is a thick large one, I would suggest that you cut it in half or quarters lengthwise, then slice it.

5. My carrot was about 4cm (1 ½”) in diameter. If the carrot is very thin, you can just halve it lengthwise. If very large, you may have to cut it into 6 pieces lengthwise.

6. If you have an egg slicer, you can dice them easily. Place the egg long ways (this is not the standard egg slicer is designed to place the egg) and slice. Holding the egg together, turn the egg 90 degrees (the egg is still placed long ways). Sice again. Then rotate the egg 90 degrees sideways and slice.

If you don’t have a slicer, you could use a knife to chop them but the egg yolk tends to stick to the side of the knife. You can use a thread to at least slice them neatly if you want. Simply place a thread around the egg leaving the ends of the thread crossed ove each other. Then pull the both ends of the thread outward. It will make the circle of the thread placed around the egg smaller, cutting through the egg. Once the egg is sliced, then knife can be used to dice them.