Finally! We moved, but it’s not all smooth sailing yet. We’re living out of boxes and we don’t have a kitchen yet. While our perfect kitchen is being built (which we will be talking about soon), I’m going to have to get crafty. I do have many plug-in appliances (rice cooker, toaster oven, panini press, waffle maker, microwave, etc.) so we’re still going to have a ball here. I think we’re going to be pleasantly surprised with how much I (or you) can do without a kitchen. (Gulp) Determined to eat well every single day without exceptions, here goes…

In grade school, one of my favorite packed lunches was a Potato Salad Sandwich. As a grade-schooler, I assumed that this potato salad was Chinese food because that’s what mom makes, Chinese food. It wasn’t until later that I realized that it didn’t really fit. Then, I started thinking it was just one of the few American dishes my mom knew how to make. She did make spaghetti occasionally too. Over time, I started to find that none of my American friend’s moms made potato salad this way. My friends would stare at my lunch and ask, what is that? That lead to the belief that it was just my mom’s own concoction. She has a lot of those so I thought nothing of it.

potato salad sandwich 3

It wasn’t until late in high school, where I had a lot more Chinese American friends, that I found friends who’s moms made potato salad in this way. It was only the Chinese American ones. Hmm? A few of my aunts make this potato salad (and did not learn it from my mom) and I’ve seen it at a few Chinese bakeries. I even saw a very similar one on another Chinese American blog, Ga Ga in the Kitchen.  I have not yet unlocked this mystery so maybe you’ll all help me out, but it seems to be some version of potato salad that has spread among the Chinese American population.

I’m not sure of the lineage of this dish, but I do know that it brings me back to childhood. It reminds me of packed lunches, which for me were always great since my mom is a fantastic cook. I love the different textures, some that crunch and some that pop. The potatoes are soft and starchy and the whole thing is creamy. The saltiness of the ham really brings it all together. You can eat it as is or put it between soft white bread for a hearty sandwich. It’s a kid-pleaser. Well, it certainly was for me.

potato salad on plate

Chinese American Potato Salad
~about 8 cups

  • 1 1/4 cup peas (freshly shelled or frozen)
  • 3/4 cup diced (1/4″) carrot
  • 3 cups diced (3/4″) cooked russet potato
  • 2 cups diced (1/4″) ham
  • 3 large hard-boiled eggs, chopped
  • 1/2 cup + 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon honey dijon mustard
  • kosher salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste

Instructions -

1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, set up a bowl of salted ice water on the side.

2. Put peas into boiling water for about 2 minutes, or just until tender but not mushy. Scoop out with strainer and set in ice water immediately. Set aside to drain thoroughly and cool.

3. Bring water back to a boil, making sure you have ice water reset. Cook carrots for about 4 minutes, or until tender. Place in ice water immediately. Drain thoroughly and set aside to cool.

4. Before you assemble, make sure all ingredients are dry and cool. You don’t want excess water and you don’t want the ingredients to be warm.

5. In a large bowl, toss together peas, carrots, potato, ham, egg, mayonnaise, and mustard. Season to taste. Serve as is or in a sandwich.

Storage: Keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

potato salad sandwich halves 2

posted by jessica at 08:44 AM Filed under Fusion, Recipes. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.