Creamy and Crunchy
My new favorite potato salad is creamy and crunchy, a vibrant side to any summer meal. Riffing on my last go-to Japanese-inspired recipe from Milk Street, I’ve upped the crunch and flavor quotient with this yogurt potato salad. Making any potato salad can be a fraught business, of course, because Mom always makes the best one. No matter whether she made it off the back of a jar or from a much-loved and long-dead Aunt's food-stained recipe card.
Sweet and Sour
Getting the right balance of sweet and sour with a creamy mayonnaise can be tricky business. I’ve subbed out this favorite American binder with yogurt, which adds a mildly acidic foundation, and makes the salad lighter and healthier. So, rather than needing a full-on sharp vinegar, I’ve borrowed from Milk Street’s Japanese potato salad and used the milder rice vinegar. Apple cider vinegar is an excellent substitute if you don’t have the Asian variety on hand. I call for a teaspoon or two of oil for flavor, but you can certainly make it oil-free.
I like the added crunch that minced raw onion gives in this dish. If you are not a raw onion fan, you have a lot of options. Increasing the scallions and skipping the red onion altogether is one idea. You could also start the recipe by allowing the minced onions to marinate in the vinegar while you are prepping the other ingredients, which will remove some of the heat. And you could simmer the red onion for a minute in boiling water, then follow the recipe as written to wrestle that allium to the ground.
Make it Your Own
In the notes below I have ideas on other vegetables, spices, and proteins you could play with to make my Indian-ish yogurt potato salad your own. My next experiment will be to add in some roasted vegetables, maybe sweet potatoes to start. The key to a successful dish is adjusting the seasonings to make sure you have the right balance of salt and acidity to sweetness.
So good at room temperature, this is a perfect picnic and potluck food. So play around with some of my ingredient ideas and come up with your very own “house” potato salad.
See the Notes below before you cook.
Indian-ish Yogurt Potato Salad
- 1 teaspoon garlic ~ Grated or puréed
- 1/4 cup red onion ~ Finely minced
- 2 scallions (green onions) ~ Finely minced
- 2 teaspoons sea or table salt ~ Divided, see substitutes
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper ~ More to taste
- 1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds ~ Or yellow or black
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar ~ Or cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons oil
- 4 teaspoons lime juice ~ Or lemon
- 1/2 cup Greek-style plain yogurt ~ Ideally full-fat (hung yogurt)
- 3 tablespoons cilantro ~ Chopped
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 1/2 pound potatoes ~ Yukon Gold, red potatoes, not russets
- 1/4 cup cucumber ~ Seeds removed and chopped
- 1/4 cup corn ~ Optional, cooked
- scallions greens
- toasted sesame seeds
- paprika ~ Smoked or not
- chili flakes
- Gather your ingredients.
- Peel and cut the potatoes into 3/4 to 1-inch cubes (2 to 2.5 cm). Place in a saucepan with 1 teaspoon of salt, cover with water by an inch. Over high heat, bring to a boil, then turn down to medium-high and simmer until tender. This will take about 13 to 16 minutes.
Mix Together the Sauce
- While the potatoes are cooking, chop the cucumber, scallions, and red onion. Mix together the dressing ingredients and set aside. The vinegar and lime juice will help mellow out the garlic, onion and scallions while resting. See Notes below if you don't like raw red onions.
- Drain the potatoes and thoroughly mix in the sauce ingredients.
- Taste for salt (I always need more), pepper, acid (lime or lemon juice, or vinegar), and sugar. The yogurt potato salad will keep well in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 days. Serve room temperature or chilled with your favorite garnishes. Please see my ideas in the notes below.
- Taking the bite out of red onions:
- Start the recipe by allowing the minced onions to marinate in the vinegar.
- Simmer the red onion for a minute in boiling water and then follow the recipe.
- Increase the scallions and skip the red onion altogether.
- Add heat:
- Chili flakes: 1/2 teaspoon Indian, Korean (guchagaru), or Italian chili flakes.
- Big pinch of cayenne
- Finely chopped fresh green chilis
- Optional Add-Ins:
- Protein: 1/4 cup crumbled paneer, feta, firm tofu, sausage, or cubed pancetta or ham
- Lentils: chickpeas or any of your favorite lentils
- Vegetables: chives, zucchini, peas, cabbage, celery, 1 Indian green chili, ~ (1/2 teaspoon) or 1/2 a Serrano chili
- Spices & flavorings:
- To make this yogurt potato salad vegan, use a vegan yogurt and mayonnaise.