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Japanese Potato Salad

Japanese Potato Salad

An izakaya serves delicious food at a reasonable price—potato salad is one typical izakaya dish. Japanese potato salad includes cucumbers for crunch. You can use either fluffy russet potatoes or the sweet, crisp Yukon gold variety. For a bountiful starter, serve this on a platter with sliced ham, hard-boiled eggs, canned baby corn, canned tuna or sardines, bacon, capers, and olives and let diners serve themselves. You can make a great sandwich with the leftover salad.

Ingredients: For the salad

  • 1 pound russet potatoes or Yukon gold potatoes, about 2 large potatoes
  • ¼ yellow onion
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt or sea salt
  • 1 Japanese cucumber or ½ standard cucumber
  • Freshly ground sansho, white, or black pepper to taste

Ingredients: For the dressing

  • ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons sushi vinegar
  • Freshly squeezed juice of ½ lemon
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt or sea salt


  1. Make the salad. Wrap the potatoes in plastic wrap and microwave on high heat until tender, 7 to 8 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  2. While the potatoes are cooling, peel the onion and slice it thinly. Massage about half the salt into the onion and set aside to rest at room temperature for 5 minutes. Rinse the salted onion with running water and squeeze out the excess water.
  3. Peel and stem the cucumber. If you are using a standard cucumber, cut it in half lengthwise and scrape the seeds out with a spoon.
  4. Thinly slice the cucumber diagonally. Place the cucumber slices in a medium bowl, sprinkle with the remaining salt and massage the surface of the slices gently. Set aside for 5 minutes.
  5. For the dressing, in a large bowl, whisk the mayonnaise, sushi vinegar, lemon juice, and salt.
  6. As soon as the potatoes are cool enough to handle (but still hot), peel them and add them to the large bowl with the dressing. Mash the potatoes with a fork, leaving some larger chunks for texture. Fold in the onion and cucumber until just incorporated.
  7. Arrange the potato salad on a plate and season with sansho.
Rika's Modern Japanese cookbook cover

© Rika’s Modern Japanese Home Cooking by Rika Yukimasa, Rizzoli New York, 2020. Photography © Teruaki Kawakami.

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