If you’ve ever been to a Korean restaurant, maybe they served you a small side dish of cold, smooth, slightly sweet mashed potatoes, almost like ice cream. It might have had some carrot or cucumber in it, which made it a little crispy. There was probably no more than an tiny scoop of it on the plate, and you were wishing the restaurant gave you more, maybe a lot more, in a large bowl!
Many people have asked me to post the recipe for this, and here it is: it’s called gamja-salad in Korean or simply “potato salad” in English. Because this is a newer dish in Korea, we borrow the English word “salad” for the name.
It’s a pretty simple dish to make, but you want to make sure you get the potatoes right, so they end up soft and creamy. There are actually two kinds of Korean potato salad: one is made of diced potatoes and vegetables (and sometimes fruit), and the other one, the one I’ll show you here, is made of mashed potatoes. Both styles use mayonnaise.
Whenever I make gamja-salad I always make a gamja-salad sandwich, too. Two pieces of toasted bread, with some gamja-salad spread over top a leaf crispy lettuce, it makes a quick, easy, and filling snack or lunch. Don’t eat it all! Your kids will love it, too! I used to make this for my children all the time. It was a great snack when they were studying hard, and a favorite in their packed lunchboxes.
Enjoy the recipe!
Ingredients (Makes about 2 pounds’ worth):
- 1 pound peeled russet potatoes, cut into ½ inch thick pieces
- 3 hard-boiled eggs, shelled
- 1 English cucumber, washed, seeded, and chopped into pieces
- ¼ teaspoon white ground pepper (or black pepper)
- ½ cup any mayonnaise (or canola cholesterol free mayonnaise)
- In a bowl, combine the cucumber with ¼ teaspoon salt and mix well. Let it sit for 5 minutes until it sweats out water. Strain and squeeze out excess moisture.
- Crack open the hard-boiled eggs and separate the yolks from the whites.
- Grate an egg yolk for garnish: Press 1 egg yolk through a sieve (or wire strainer) with a wooden spoon. Set the other 2 egg yolks aside.
- Rinse the potato chunks in cold water to remove excess starch and place them in a heavy-bottomed pot. Add ½ cup water and a pinch of salt. Cook for 20 minutes over medium high heat.
- Remove from the heat. Drain any excess water, and put the cooked potato back to the pot. Cover and simmer for 1 or 2 minutes over very low heat, to remove more moisture. Uncover.
- Mash the hot potato with a wooden spoon or a potato masher for 30 seconds and add the 2 cooked egg yolks. Keep mashing until well mixed.
- Add the squeezed cucumber, ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper, and a pinch for salt. Mix it well with a wooden spoon. Add the mayonnaise and mix well. Cool it down at room temperature and keep it in the refrigerator. Serve cold as a side dish or snack.
- Spread a scoop of chilled gamja-salad over a fresh leaf of lettuce, between two toasted pieces of bread. Serve or pack in a lunch with some fruit.