Light and airy, ethereal and dreamy — like biting into a billowy Korean Potato Salad cloud!
If you love Korean BBQ then chances are, you probably love Korean Potato Salad, too.
Served as one of several banchan (side dishes), it’s the one that I reach for again and again. So light and fluffy! So deliciously addictive!
Out of all the potato salads in the world, it’s definitely my favorite.
What is Korean Potato Salad? How is it different?
Korean Potato Salad is also known as Gamja Salad. Gamja means “potato” in Korean.
Gamja Salad differs from the standard North American potato salad because of the flavor + texture.
Take a bite of Gamja Salad — it has that distinctive Korean flavor profile. A little bit sweet and tangy. With an eggy richness that’s so very luscious and satisfying!
Also, the texture. Korean Potato Salad is soft and fluffy. This is not a heavy, dense potato salad. It’s light and airy — like biting into a billowy potato salad cloud!
Then there’s the add-ins. An assortment of fruit and vegetables are standard in Korean Potato Salad. Carrot, apple, corn, cucumber, raisins, bell pepper, etc.! The vegetable and fruit add freshness to an otherwise very starchy dish. But even cubed ham bits and canned tuna fish are common additions.
Whenever I make this dish, I add carrots about 50% of the time. But I always, always add cucumbers. My Halmoni likes hers sweet with apples and raisins. Some prefer it with corn and ham. While others like celery and bell pepper. All to say, choose what you like best!
Russet Potatoes. A high starch content makes Russet Potatoes the ideal potato for Gamja Salad. Soft, fluffy, light — russet potatoes lend an ethereal, even dreamy texture. While I love Golden Yukons for regular mashed potatoes, I don’t use them for this recipe. The texture won’t be quite right; they are too heavy and dense.
Kewpie Mayo. Kewpie is a Japanese mayonnaise that comes in a squeeze bottle. Sweeter and more eggy than regular mayo, Kewpie adds another flavor dimension.
Hard Boiled Eggs. They add SO much flavor. Grate them finely (on a box grater) to keep that nice, light texture.
Sugar + Vinegar. Vinegar is commonly used in potato salad recipes, sugar is not. But this combination makes for a distinctly Korean flavor profile: sweet and tangy.
Vegetables. As mentioned above, vegetables + fruit add freshness and crunch. At minimum, add the salted cucumbers. But if you want to load up, go for it!
How to Make Gamja Salad [Korean Potato Salad]:
Thinly slice cucumbers. Add salt and scrunch together with your hands. Set aside for 10 minutes; the cucumbers will slightly wilt.
In a medium saucepan, cover potatoes and eggs with cold water. Bring to a boil. After 10 minutes, transfer eggs to a cold water bath. Cook potatoes until completely soft, about 4-5 minutes more. (If using carrots, throw into the water and parboil alongside potatoes for the remaining 4-5 minutes.)
Remove carrots with a strainer and set aside in a separate bowl. Drain potatoes. Return potatoes to the same pot and mash until light and fluffy. Add Kewpie mayonnaise, sugar, and vinegar. Mix until well combined.
Add finely grated hard boiled eggs. Squeeze cucumbers to remove excess water and add to the potatoes. Gently mix together. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Serve immediately or chill in the fridge until ready to serve. Use an ice cream scoop to plate onto a small dish. Enjoy!
Gamja Salad AKA Korean Potato Salad
- 1 mini cucumber
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 large Russet potato, about 1 lb
- 1 small carrot, peeled + chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
- 2 large eggs, preferably organic or free run
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise (preferably Kewpie), plus a little more if necessary
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp rice vinegar (white vinegar or apple cider vinegar also works)
- salt + pepper, to taste
- Thinly slice cucumbers. Add salt and scrunch together. Set aside for 10 minutes; the cucumbers will slightly wilt.
- In a medium saucepan, cover potatoes and eggs with cold water. Bring to a boil and simmer. After 10 minutes, transfer eggs to a cold water bath. The potatoes should remain in the pot. Cook until completely soft, about 4-5 minutes more. (If using carrots, throw into the water and parboil alongside potatoes for the remaining 4-5 minutes.)
- Remove carrots with a hand held strainer and set aside in a separate bowl. Drain potatoes and return to the pot. Mash with a potato masher until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Add Kewpie mayonnaise, sugar, and vinegar. Mix until well combined, making sure not to over-mash.
- Add finely grated hard boiled eggs. Squeeze cucumbers to remove excess water and add to the potatoes. Switch to a spoon or spatula and gently mix together. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve immediately or chill in the fridge until ready to serve. Use an ice cream scoop to plate onto a small dish. Enjoy!